We spend an average of 2,080 hours working in a typical work year, and many, if not all are spent with our coworkers. Which raises the question, Why do we stigmatize being friends beyond work with the people we are in contact with every day almost all day?

Answer: Old “Corporate Culture.”

Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.

At Innovalti we consider the people, we work with our family/friends. Creating a “real” connection beyond work makes our day-to-day interactions easier by having more of a friendly and trusting relationship, which makes people comfortable when they want to share an opinion or have an input. Having a space where everybody feels heard and taken into account puts any business on the road to success.

A LinkedIn study revealed that 46% of professionals worldwide believe that work friends are important to their overall happiness. Working with someone you feel connected with, will make people feel like it’s not a simple job in which they just go sit and finish their assignments, it will make them feel like they’re stepping into a community that they are helping thrive.

Remote working has changed the panorama that we had about having connections, making it difficult for people to keep in contact and get to know each other because you miss the casual chats that one might have while pouring a cup of coffee in the lunchroom. As remote work makes it difficult to interact, social media has proven effective and easy to get to know a person and get a glimpse into their day-to-day life. It’s time to forget the taboo about following each other and commenting on their pictures just because the other person is in a different department or because it’s the boss, we should be able to see them as people that we may have lots of things in common.

1. Get to really know them… and them to know you! :

You could find out that you share common interests with your coworkers/boss. Shared interests can lead to discussions and opportunities to show your boss you possess qualities that may not come out at work. For example, you might show initiative and leadership skills in your personal life, but your job doesn’t give you the chance to exercise those skills.

2. Networking!

You may also find your coworkers or boss have projects and activities that they participate in outside of work. If you share the same interests or value the same organizations, you may be able to network to achieve goals outside of work.

3. Finding a real friendship

Most of the time we think about our coworkers as merely people we “work with” and nothing else, but beyond work, they are people that potentially can become your best friend, someone that not only understands your outside interests but someone who goes through the same experience as you do at work.

Don’t be afraid to find out who the person behind the laptop really is, go and friend your coworker, you may find your best friend for life!