Friends With Benefits: Befriend Your Co-Workers to Make More Money

Coworkers become friends over lunch

Co-Workers become friends over lunch | iStock

Wondering how to make more money? You can gun for a management position with your company, or even work on some of those intangible skills that could lead to a raise or promotion. The truth is, there is a multitude of ways to improve your productivity and job performance in order to work your way up the ladder. But one of the easiest ways to make your way to the top, or at least make more money, is to know the right people — so, making nice with your professional colleagues can be very important.

It may be more important than you realize. Many people despise their co-workers (often justifiably), but new evidence shows the friendlier we are with our work mates, the more productive and efficient we become at our jobs. So, if you’re looking to make more money by getting a promotion or raise, working on those relationships may be the key.

While it may be intuitive to think the friendlier you are with your co-workers, the less work you’ll get done — you’ll end up spending time gossiping and goofing around, after all — new research seems to suggest otherwise. “Multiplex relationships,” a study published in the journal Personnel Psychology says, can actually make us more productive and increase our job performance.

“In a study of insurance company employees, we found that the number of multiplex workplace friendships in one’s social network is positively associated with supervisor ratings of job performance,” the study says. As for what, exactly, a “multiplex relationship” means, the researchers define them as “multifaceted relationships that superimpose friendship with work-focused interactions.”

So, while the research did show that these relationships can lead to positive outcomes in terms of performance and ratings, there were a couple of caveats to note. “However, we also found that there is a negative indirect effect on job performance through emotional exhaustion, which is offset, in part, through enhanced positive affect.” Also, while looking at workers in the restaurant industry, the researchers found there was some lost productivity in that these relationships required effort to maintain — that is, we have to engage our friends at work, detracting from our professional duties.

The researchers call these multiplex relationships a “mixed blessing,” but the positive implications here are pretty clear: The better we get along with our co-workers and colleagues, the more we’re going to benefit in positive feedback and ratings. There’s also a “greasing of the wheels” sort of effect at play — where we have a better idea of how to read and anticipate our co-workers’ thoughts or actions, and can increase or productivity through that anticipation.

Making more money

So, how can this research and the knowledge generated from it actually serve you? As mentioned, if you can manage to really kindle some strong relationships with your colleagues, then it should pay off in a number of ways. You’ll have more people looking out for you (as opposed to those looking to potentially sabotage you), and you should be able to get more work done. Employers want to see more getting done and increased productivity, and when they do, it’s typically grounds for a raise or promotion.

It’s also never really a bad thing to be on good terms with your superiors in management. After all, they’re the ones who will ultimately make the call during a salary renegotiation, or when promoting someone.

But you also need to make the effort to keep track of what you’ve been doing, and make sure that your relationships with co-workers are symbiotic and reciprocal. If your co-workers are going to be helping you out, you need to be there for them as well. If you can work together, you’ll all be better off in the end. And make sure you’re keeping a tally of your accomplishments, or making note of how your work performance has improved. You can use it when asking for a raise or promotion, and if all else fails, show it to other prospective employers.

It all comes back to building strong relationships, though. You may get annoyed with your colleagues, but being on good terms with them can make a huge difference when push comes to shove. And if you are serious about making more money, strong relationships could be the key.

Follow Sam on Facebook and Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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