Best buds Sarah and Cormac spoke to Career Consultant Angela Burke about friendships at work and whether workplaces are better when colleagues aren't just colleagues. Research has apparently shown that the office is a better place to work in when colleagues get along with each other. Seems fairly self-evident. But can it really be as simple as that?

Angela surveyed her Instagram followers before appearing on Drivetime and the results seem to bear out the research:

"A lot of them are saying, you know, a friendship would even nearly keep them in a workplace that they’re unhappy in."

But what happens to workplace friendships when people move up in the world and your pal last Friday is your boss on Monday? It seems, Angela says, that people are still happier with friendships at work than otherwise:

"People do place a lot of weight on, you know, friendships and that leading to higher satisfaction at work."

There’s a difference, though, as Sarah points out, between everyone being friendly at work and actually being friends with one or more colleagues and going out for coffee or arriving at their house to binge watch season two of The Bear. Angela helpfully listed the types of workplace friends:

"So there’s workplace best friend, close friendly, workplace friendly and then co-worker acquaintance, right? I think the difference between, say, the first two, the best friend and the close friendly and the other two is really the trust and the emotional exchange and actually the friendship kind of extending outside of work."

Then there are the people that you’re friendly with in a sort of water cooler kind of way, that allows you to, as Angela puts it, "close the office door and leave the friendship there."

The key differentiator between the water cooler friend and the close, going-round-to-their-house friend, Angela says, is down to how you feel about each person:

"It’s that emotional exchange and the trust. And I think often we’ll find actually – I know even from my own life if I look at the close friends I have around me – actually two of them are from workplaces where I was actually going through a difficult time at work and, like, in my personal life and I think through that emotional exchange, you kind of become closer, don’t you?"

There are, Cormac suggests, people who exhibit different personas at work and home. The sort of person who’s relaxed and convivial in a coffee bar, but when they’re at large in the workplace they become, strait-laced and serious, almost as if they’re trying to impress the boss or something. The other thing to bear in mind, Angela says – possibly as an out for Cormac – is that there are always going to be those who will want to opt out:

"There’s a lot of talk about inclusion in the workplace, but actually a good point as well, is that sometimes inclusion is allowing members of the team not to be – they don’t want to be included, they don’t want those extra-curricular activities outside of work and that’s inclusion to them."

You can hear Angela’s full chat with workplace acquaintances Sarah and Cormac by clicking above.