Office mate, nine-to-five bestie, or #WorkWife — call her what you want, but the principle still holds true. Having a close friend and collaborator at your job makes work so much better for so many reasons. Whether she’s been your ride-or-die for years or your office friendship is newly blossoming, chances are you’ve come to appreciate how your work wife encourages and challenges you, helps to improve your work-life balance, and just boosts morale in general. But have you thought about how close friendships at work could actually make you a better employee and help you meet your career goals? Here are five ways your work wife can help you be more successful (and happier) at work.

Two women laugh together in a bright office

1. In general, happiness at work is known to boost productivity. It’s no secret that happy people are more productive people, and your workplace is no exception. Having a thriving social life at the office can make it a more enjoyable place to be, which in turn makes you a better employee. Nate Masterson, HR Manager for Maple Holistics, says job satisfaction and efficiency are closely linked. “It comes as no surprise that the brain functions better when a person is feeling positive,” Masterson tells us. “With this in mind, productivity increases by around 12 percent in happy employees. It’s not hard to believe when you consider the alternative — depressed employees are lethargic in their productivity.”

2. Work friendships often lead to better collaboration on the job. You and your work wife get along for a reason. While you’re probably pros at sipping coffee side by side, it’s likely you and your office bestie work well together too. Not only do you trust each other, but you also understand one another’s work styles, and that’s a good thing. Masterson says he’s noticed that in-office friendship promotes a cooperative atmosphere, which can lead to both collaboration and innovation at work. “Not only does having a work wife provide (free) psychological support from someone who understands your job, but it also enhances a collaborative work environment.”

Two women discuss a project

3. A close friend can help you build your skill set. If your BFF works in another department, or even if she’s just prioritized different areas of expertise, spending time together on and off the job means learning from one another. Dr. Kat Cohen, CEO of IvyWise, explains that this type of relationship could boost your knowledge and broaden your skill set, which inherently makes you a more valuable employee. “Employees with in-office friendships have access to a professional support network and are able to draw on the expertise of their peers in order to create top-notch deliverables across multiple fields,” she says. “For example, someone working in social media who forges a friendship with a graphic designer may be able to use their colleague’s knowledge and visual eye to create more compelling and aesthetically pleasing content.”

4. You’re more likely to take risks when you know someone has your back. Ally Federbush, Head of People Operations at Stash Investments, says she’s seen how having even just one good friend on the job can lead to more productivity. She chalks it up to the way friendship empowers us to be the best versions of ourselves. “With the support of their work friends behind them, a person is likely more inclined to take risks, which could lead to innovation, more responsibility, and leadership opportunities,” she says. “There is safety in numbers and having people who are looking out for you, which means something, particularly to women.”

5. With support, you’re even more motivated to pursue a promotion. With your work wife rooting for you, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Jamie McNally, a licensed psychologist and counselor and owner of Sycamore Counseling Services, says there’s evidence that close friendships at work can motivate and empower women to achieve goals and advance in their careers: “Some recent research has suggested that, for women specifically, having a close female peer in the office actually encourages occupational pursuits and results in a woman reaching higher levels of professional success.”

Tell us how your #WorkWife helps you succeed @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)