Forget the traditional boss-employee relationship — people are saying they have their boss’ phone number, have met their partners, and have even exercised together

Are you besties with your boss? Anna Kholina/Strelka Institute/Flickr

There’s nothing like embarking on road trips, sharing advice, and exchanging gifts with your friends.

But increasingly, employees are saying they also partake in those same activities with their boss – the very person who might just determine their salary, workload, and everything else about their livelihood.

According to an Olivet Nazarene University survey of 3,000 workers, more and more Americans are getting closer to their boss. Nearly 70% have their boss’ phone numbers, and a third have asked them for advice. Around a quarter have socially hung out with their bosses, given their bosses advice, or gone to their homes. And the majority have met their bosses’ significant others and kids, and vice versa.

What’s more, 18% of workers say they have been in the car with their boss for more than two hours, while five per cent say they have exercised with their bosses.

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It’s a sign of just how different the modern American workplace is from its previous incarnations. Decades ago, suits, cubicles, and clearly-defined hierarchies were the norm in most offices. But that’s been replaced with business casual environments, open office plans, and cutesy job titles like “customer service ninja.”

Is it wise to be best pals with your supervisor?

It may seem jarring to have your boss so involved in your personal life, but the researchers at Olivet Nazarene suggested that happier employees are closer with their bosses. Other workplace experts, however, aren’t so gung-ho on becoming besties with your boss.

As Business Insider’s Áine Cain reported, the best bosses do indeed ask their employees about their kids, their summer vacations, and so on. They recognise that their workers have lives outside of the office. On the other hand, those great bosses don’t play favourites – and that might just be the case if you have a Snapchat streak with one of your employees and gush to them about your love life, while you stick to polite chit-chat with the other one.

“Playing favourites is a great way to torpedo office morale,” Cain wrote. “If you make it clear that a certain person is the apple of your eye no matter what, then that will just encourage your other employees to give up on trying to impress you.”

Are you friends with your boss? Or do you find the practice strange? Share your experiences with me – [email protected].