Is it good to have a best friend at work? | This Working Life, ABC RN

Close workplace friendships have their benefits and their risks.

In an interview on ABC Radio National, Lisa Leong and I chatted about the value of having a best friend at work.

Listen to the discussion on This Working Life, ABC RN >

Workplace friendships can be great for our mental health and keeping our spirits up. We spend a lot of time at work so it’s important to be able to feel relaxed with your colleagues and have a laugh or vent sometimes.

Camaraderie and respect at work is important, particularly when co-workers are looking out for each other and sharing ideas. This can promote cohesive teamwork and provide workers with an overall sense of wellbeing and support.

However, there are potential risks to having a best friend at work:

  • Perceived favouritism / perceived bias / conflict of interest

  • Leniency of rules and policies in favour of putting the friendship first

  • Distractions and time-wasting

  • Exclusion of other team members (conscious or subconscious)

A “bestie” friendship between a supervisor and subordinate would make it particularly difficult to avoid the perception of preferential treatment. If co-workers believe that a promotion or reward has been given on the basis of favouritism, this has a damaging impact on workplace culture and may also lead to discrimination claims.

To avoid other team members feeling excluded, I would advise people to have courageous conversations with their co-workers. Open and transparent communication is an excellent way to strengthen team relations and create an inclusive team culture.

Listen to the discussion on This Working Life, ABC RN >

For more information, training and support, please contact us today.


#ABCRadio #WorkplaceCulture #communication #Risks

PLEASE BE ADVISED: The content of this website is subject to updates or changes. Any information or advice published on this website is general in nature; it may not apply to your specific objectives or circumstances and it does not constitute legal advice or tailored employment relations advice. WorkPlacePLUS will not be liable in any way for any loss or damages arising from the use of this website. Users should seek individualised, tailored advice to address any specific objectives or circumstances. This website uses cookies to allow us to assess and improve site functionality. By using this website, you consent to WorkPlacePLUS’s use of cookies.

WorkPlacePLUS acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong peoples of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which our national office stands. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging.

© 2021 WorkPlacePLUS Pty Ltd ABN 48 166 238 786

Training Programs 

HR & IR Support for Employers 

Independent Workplace Investigations