How to Make Friends at Work Even if You’re Remote

Do you remember your first day at school? For most people, it’s a pretty overwhelming experience. You find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings, eager to prove yourself, and, perhaps most crucially, on the hunt for some new friends. In your adult life, you might suffer similar feelings on your first day in a new job. After all, the desire to forge meaningful bonds with your peers is unlikely to diminish as you graduate from the school playground to the office floor. With a buddy or two by your side, the workplace becomes a far less lonely and traumatic place — not only will you have someone to spend your lunch break with, but a workplace ally serves as a useful sounding board when you’re having a difficult time. It’s valuable to have someone you can rant to, cry to, ask for advice from, or overcome challenges with. Research shows that employees who have friends in the workplace are happier, less stressed, and more motivated. A study published by Gallup in 2018, for example, found that those who have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged in their job. In another survey, conducted in 2021, 21% of employees said they are more creative when working alongside friends. Despite the obvious benefits, making friends in the workplace is far from straightforward — you won’t rise to popularity by sharing your morning snack or offering a page from your new coloring book. There are the usual concerns, such as the need to remain professional or respect workplace hierarchies, but the recent shift to remote working has made especially tricky for workers to stumble across genuine and meaningful friendships.

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