How to make work friends on your first day of work

By Robert Half on 30th July 2019

We’ve come a long way since building close friendships within the workplace was frowned upon. This was usually put in place to distinguish boundaries between colleagues and the level of professionalism that was expected in the workplace. Luckily today workplace culture has improved when it comes to accepting workplace friendships.

With this in mind, it’s understandable that making friends at work is going to be on your mind when you start a new role. In fact, getting on well with your colleagues can impact positively on your overall work approach as well as improving your working environment. Our research has found that 62% of happy professionals have good friends at work and 81% get along with those in their immediate team.

So if your keen to make some work friends in your new role we’ve put together some great tips to help develop that workplace friendship.

Workplace friendships: The icebreakers

It can be quite nerve-racking talking to people at work, let alone talking about subjects that aren’t anything to do with work. Here are a few things you can say to break the ice in front of work friends:

  • “Have you read a good book recently, or watched a new tv series?”

Questions like this really open up the conversation to the interests of both parties and people are usually more likely to recommend things to others if they’ve enjoyed it themselves.

  • “I’ve recently visited… have you been anywhere recently, or do you have any breaks planned?”

It’s a nice touch to bring up a recently visited destination with a colleague. What’s more you’re getting them to talk about places they may have visited or their future holiday destination which will get them excited about the trip!

  • “Is there anywhere that you would recommend in the area... for dinner? or for a night out? or to go on the weekends?”

This kind of question works well for both parties to divulge things that they have enjoyed outside of work and open an opportunity to do something as work friends outside of the workplace.

Ways of making friends at work: The introductory email

This is an aspect that comes as part of any new role. Whether it’s through an introductory email, or team meeting, you will need to be prepared to talk about yourself, but this is also one of the many ways of making friends at work. Remember you are not under any kind of pressure to talk about things you don’t want to share, but by giving a nice round up of your background and a little bit about you as a person is one way of getting a conversation up and running.

Here’s an example of this:

Hi everyone, my name is …. And I’m really excited to be starting here. One of the first things that drew me to working here is… This really propelled me into applying for the role. Outside of work I really like to... / one of my hobbies is... / I’m on my local team for… Let me know if you have any questions!

It’s normal to have first day nerves and understanding how the first few days at your new role will pan out means it’s good to be prepared. Remember you’ll be working on a regular basis with these people as your new colleagues, so it's important to make a great first impression. Good work friends come from firstly building solid working relationships which can develop into work friendships too. 

Why making friends at work is good

Making friends in general has many positive benefits and this can go for your work friends too. In our research we found that 68% of UK employees have good friends at work. In other regions, friends at work proved popular for those in Yorkshire with 83% of people having good friends at work compared to 64% in the East of England.

These high figures are transparent enough to show the importance of workplace friendships in the current working climate. More than one in 10 (13%) of UK employees are unhappy at work and one in 10 (12%) employees report being dissatisfied with their work–life balance. 
Workplace friendships can not only work to bring you happiness in the workplace, but also help to alleviate current stress outside the office. 

Work friends can be a great source of support during stressful periods and can help you talk things over. What’s more, it adds an extra bonus to your working day knowing you’re going in to see somebody who you can have a great conversation with over lunch or a cup of tea.
There may be some colleagues you instantly find rapport with quite easily, but when you start out in a new role it’s okay to take things at your own pace and make work friends in your own time.

Recognise your work friends!

In Robert Half’s Work Happy report, colleagues that have close friendships within their team are 2.7 times more likely to be happy on the job compared to those who do not get along with their colleagues.

It’s fair to say that workplace friendships can have an impact on your happiness and the way in which you approach your job. Maintaining friendships in the workplace can more often than not help you stay enthusiastic, satisfied and productive within your role. At the end of the day the workplace friendships you develop can help you set off for the day with a smile on your face.

Having trouble searching for your new role? Our friendly recruitment consultants are here to help! Search on our website or get in touch with one of the team.

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