In any workplace there will be a range of personalities, some people are more sociable and outgoing whereas others prefer to keep themselves to themselves. Different personalities are needed in the office and while it is important to focus on the work you need to do, making the effort to become friends with your colleagues is mutually beneficial to you and your company. This is for the following reasons:

Your job will be more enjoyable
When you’re working with people that you like and get on well with, the job is going to be more enjoyable. Adding friends to any situation will generally make it more fun, take examples such as going to the cinema or playing football. Neither of those would be very much fun by yourself! The same principle can be applied to the workplace. If you’re sat at your desk working all day without positive interaction with your colleagues, then it most probably isn’t going to be very enjoyable. Even if you don’t particularly like the work you’re doing, it can still be fun when you’re doing it with friends that you can have a laugh with and help each other.

You will be more productive at work
It’s an oft cited fact that a happy worker is a more productive worker, with the exception of your occasional recluse. Therefore you will be better at your job if you’re around friends you like that make you happy. People that don’t enjoy work have a tendency to sit and think about how miserable they are. They will demonstrate evasive behaviour to try and get away with doing the minimum required for them not to be sacked which isn’t really a good approach method when things like promotions are taken into consideration. On the other hand, people that enjoy work will generally look to do what they can to help out and take on additional responsibilities to help the team.

You have another group of friends to socialise with at the weekend
The suggestion here isn’t that you’re fed up with hanging out with your usual bunch of mates on the weekend, but it’s nice to have options. Spending time with colleagues outside of the workplace allows you to get to know each other properly in an informal environment. Most people know of the scenario where you go out for drinks with others that you don’t really know and then when you see each other the next day you’re almost like best friends. This can be the start or a long a fruitful friendship, the benefits of which should not be underestimated.

It has a positive impact on your future job opportunities
We’ve all heard it’s not what you know but who you know and while this isn’t a complete truth in all industries it certainly goes a long way to have a strong network of contacts that aren’t only people you’d consider as colleagues but friends. A friend is far more likely to help you out when you’re in need as you will be considered important to them, rather than just being someone that they used to work with. The days when it was common to start working for a company as a graduate and stay with them until retirement are largely gone so it makes things far easier when looking for a new opportunity if you have a contact that can vouch for you.