The idea of having a work best friend, a “work wife” or a “work husband” is not new – but how important is it really?

Gallup has developed its science-backed Q12 Employee Engagement survey that organizations can purchase to understand their employees’ engagement level. One of the most controversial questions has always been, “Do you have a work best friend?”

Gallup explains that it includes the question, especially worded using “best friend” because they have found that the most productive work groups at organizations are filled with people who strongly agree that they have a work best friend.

“In the best workplace, employers recognize that people want to forge quality relationships with their coworkers, and that company allegiance can be built from such relationships.” – Gallup

High levels of productivity amongst employees that are friends can be explained by a few reasons. One is that friends understand each other’s personalities better than acquaintances. They know their strengths, weaknesses, what makes them tick and what makes them shine. Working together is easier because they don’t have to expend as much energy trying to communicate or deal with personalities that they don’t naturally mesh well with.

There’s also the fact that people naturally don’t want to let their friends down. Working with friends puts an added pressure to get the job done well and on-time.

In addition to boosting work productivity and quality, having a friend at work can help employees deal with the unavoidable stress and occasional turmoil in business. Mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, new hires, big presentations, being up for a promotion and general change can be incredibly difficult for some employees to deal with. Having a friend who’s going through it at the same time can provide a shoulder to lean on and help employees adapt and cope with the situation.

Do you have a best friend at work? Do you think having one makes you more engaged, motivated and productive at work? Take our poll and see how you compare!