There’s a growing trend in the HR industry to cultivate a workplace where friendships can flourish between and among employees. It seems companies want you to be friends with your colleagues.

Why not – when friends work together, they are more productive and effective. Plus, employees with friends at work are far happier and more engaged, which means they’ll be more likely to stay at the company. These are all good things for companies.

Having a “work wife” or “work husband” can boost your career, too, helping us go farther and faster than we could alone. For one, they make our 9-to-5 more enjoyable. And, when work is more fun you’ll be more likely to do better work. Here are four other reasons these relationships are key to your career success.

They reduce our stress

We humans are hardwired to connect with others. Women, it seems, are more inclined than men. A recent study shows that women yearn for connections when they are stressed whereas men sway between their fight or flight tendencies. When women don’t get the connection they need, their stress levels increase as do the negative physical and mental effects stress can have on our systems.

So, the next time you’re upset or faced with a stressful situation, grab your work wife and head out for a venting session over coffee, wine or whatever else you may fancy.

They amplify our voices

Women continue to be penalized for speaking up and promoting our achievements. They can help amplify our voices. Too often, women still don’t get much airtime in meetings. When they do speak up, many times their voices are drowned out by others in the room. Having a friend in the room can help shine a spotlight so your ideas are heard. And, if she likes them, she can publicly support them. What’s more, your work wife can be your voice when you’re not in the room, talking up your accomplishments to her network.

They provide perspective

It’s bound to happen, things will go wrong at work. Having someone who fully understands your job, your company’s culture and the personalities you deal with on a regular basis can go a long way in offering you the perspective you need during these moments.

A work wife will be able to talk you off the ledge in the moment, and offer you fresh, and completely valid solutions that will help you fix the problem.

They let us support them

There’s only one thing that’s better than having a work wife. Being a work wife. For all the things your work spouse does for you, you can do the same for them.

Giving and supporting others benefits our physical, emotional and mental well-being. When we give to our friends – be it our time, attention, love – we almost instantaneously boost our energy levels. We evoke a greater sense of gratitude for the people in our lives, and we feel happier and healthier than before. Plus, publicly supporting a colleague at work and advocating their accomplishments is a signal of your confidence and leadership – two qualities that will help you stand out from the crowd. So, there you have it. Four really good reasons to ask that friend at work out for a coffee – you don’t know where it can take you.

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