Every woman has their ‘squad’ but it might just be anyone’s guess that the first group of people you associate with the word is the one you spend your time with outside of the work place. Whether they’re your oldest friends, your closest friends or the ones that were there to hold your hair back when a fake ID and too many apple VKs proved too much, they know pretty much everything about you. But it wasn’t until recently, after seven years of work plus 3 years at university, that I really came to realise the importance of my ‘work squad’ and the impact that they’ve had on my career progression. Undoubtedly a term that I might have made up for the sake of this article, what I mean by it is not necessarily a group of people who all know each other, but the individual friends that I’ve made along the way. These are the women with whom I share knowledge, interests and experience in one of the most important areas of my life – my career. Here are the five main reasons why I’ll always value my work squad:

1. They make the working week more bearable

On the most basic of levels, these are the women who make the working week fun. If you’re lucky, you’ll work with those who share common interests but if not, you might just learn something new. Go for tea breaks, take walks at lunch and if you’re so inclined, book a fitness class (or go for cocktails) together after hours. You never know what the friendships that you make at work might lead to.

2. They get what you’re going through

There’s no one who will understand what you’re going through at work – whether it’s stress-related, people-related, or achievement related – than those with an insiders’ view. They’ll pick up the slack if you’re struggling and they’ll be there to give sound and relevant advice when you need it the most. Stay professional, of course, but use them as your shoulder to cry on when you need to, they’ll have the best ideas about how to get back on track.

3. They’re the people who you spend the most of your time with

A full time contract in most places consists of 40-hours a week so that amounts to a lot of your life – more than most of us spend asleep, in fact – so having friends that you can talk to about things other than business is key. Like it or not, you’ll probably get to know these people well, so embrace it and use it to everyone’s advantage, you might just find it makes you more productive if you take 10 minutes to chat about something detached every now and then.

4. They should support your career progression

Same team or not, a true work friend will always encourage your progression. In a generation where we change jobs and companies every couple of years, it’s the people who still think of you once they’ve left that you know have your best intersts at heart. Amongst my friends its fairly commonplace to send each other vacancies, give recommendations and help with covering letters and applications and not only will it open your eyes to what else is out there but it should give your confidence a boost as well.

5. You’ll probably part ways, but that’s OK too

In fact sometimes it might just make you closer. As new opportunities arise and people go in different directions it leaves room for new work squad members but remember to stay in contact with your old crew, you never know when your paths might cross again or whether they could be the key to your next exciting venture.

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