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Better friends than foes
Published on Thursday, 23 Feb 2012
Illustration: Bay Leung

Who says you can't mix business and pleasure? According to a survey by finance and accounting recruitment specialist Robert Half International, 63 per cent of employees in the United States think office productivity improves when colleagues are friends outside the office, and 57 per cent of managers agreed with this. 

Building friendships at work is not always easy when the demands of the job leave little time to interact with peers. But forming relationships is worth the effort, making your job more enjoyable, among other benefits.

This first in a two-part series explains how you can build friendships at work. 

Invite a colleague to lunch Enjoying a meal with a co-worker is a good way to get to know him or her in a more relaxed setting. 

Join project groups or committees Participation in group activities is a great way to build your skill set and get to know other people in your department - and beyond. 

Celebrate milestones By recognising your co-workers' birthdays with cards, decorations or gifts, you encourage camaraderie. Consider collaborating with others in your department to plan colleagues' birthday events.  

Organise a holiday potluck These are a great way to socialise with colleagues. Send a brief e-mail around.

Pallavi Anand, director, Robert Half Hong Kong