No doubt about it: Having a friend in the next cubicle or on the same shift can make work a lot more enjoyable. And it might be good for a lot more than that: In an October 2016 review of studies, researchers analyzed office relationship data from 58 studies and more than 19,000 people and found that participants who identified closely with their coworkers were more likely to have better overall health. Plus, those with strong relationships with their coworkers were also less likely to face burnout. Score!
But close friends at work can make your professional life a lot more complicated, too. Back in November 2015, researchers at Rutgers University worked to get a better understanding of this dynamic. In their study, they investigated what they call a "multiplex friendship," which basically means you interact both as coworkers and as closer friends who might spend time together outside of the office.
After observing more than 300 employees in two different studies, the Rutgers researchers found something that most of us already knew: Work friendships are mixed blessings. But if you learn to embrace the pros and manage the cons, work friends can boost not only your mood, but also your productivity.
"On top of them improving attitude and making us feel more positively about our work environment, they really are assisting or aiding in the way that we perform our jobs and in our effectiveness," says lead investigator Jessica Methot, PhD, assistant professor of human resource management at Rutgers.
Here, some of TV's best work buddies demonstrate the study's findings.