Photo by  James Baldwin  on  Unsplash

I value friendship because in the company of friends we find joy, support and camaraderie. We can be ourselves. There’s no need to hide our quirks or dodgy dance moves. And though we may not always listen to each other, or sometimes just do our own thing, our friends are always there for us.

Being a friend requires us to give—be it time to help others succeed, praise for something done, forgiveness for something hurtful, or a hug just because hugs are nice. Encouraging each other to do more of what’s good and not being afraid to explain what could’ve been better keeps us honest and true. What we say and do shows how much we care and what we stand for. That’s why I try to treat everyone the way I want to be treated—with honesty, fairness and warmth.

People first

At work, collaboration becomes very social so the ideas, motivation and care of our colleagues really matter. When some voices are small and hard to hear they need friends to speak up for them. It’s through open, compassionate conversations that we create the environment, context and mindset to learn more meaningful, more beneficial, and more humane ways of working.

Safety and encouragement

When work gets hard and time is short, what gets us through is sticking together and having each others’ backs. It’s important we all know this and show it. When friends see us struggling they offer help—perhaps we bounce ideas around, they make us a cuppa, or take us for a break. It’s so nice when we’re asked for advice or thanked for something someone has learned from us. It’s also wonderful to feel encouraged by someone’s enthusiasm for one of our ideas. We shouldn’t be afraid to show affection when we enjoy people’s company. Stepping forward rather than standing back is scary, but we all need support—receiving it starts with giving.


Bring humanity to work. Before speaking or taking action, as a friend we try to understand someone’s motivations, appreciate the pressures they’re under, and respect the knowledge they have. We’re not authentic if we don’t feel their wins and losses, or share their risks and rewards. For those burned in the past, we create optimism out of crisis. To those stuck in a rut, we’re a refreshing change. For steps into the unknown, we’re a safe pair of hands.

Social connection is a basic human need. Friendship at work nurtures a kind and generous environment that fosters the positive connections and sense of belonging we need for our well-being. Working with friends we’re more likely to be happier, healthier, and seven times as likely to be engaged in our jobs with higher levels of safety, satisfaction, enjoyment and productivity.

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
— Helen Keller