With workers spending most of their time in the office, it won’t come as much of a surprise that employees are turning to their colleagues for spouse-like support. Latest research finds that 47.2 percent of UK professionals have or wish they had a ‘work spouse’ – often defined as a co-worker of the opposite sex with whom you have a close platonic relationship, one that mirrors that of a real marriage.
The research comes from the UK job site, CV-Library, which conducted a survey amongst over 2,000 of Britain’s workers to gain a better understanding of professionals’ workplace relationships. The findings revealed that while only 18.2 percent currently have a work husband or wife, a further 29 percent would like to find one at their own place of work, and 71.5 percent think a lot of people already have a work spouse without even realising it.
When asked to share the benefits of having a close-knit relationship with a reliable colleague, respondents cited the top reasons as:
36.5 percent enjoy the benefits of the support and mentorship their work spouse can offer them, and 16.1 percent like that they can provide advice and guidance.
Furthermore, 13 percent believe that its nice to have someone to share concerns and 8.4 percent think they offer friendship and companionship. A small three percent think that they can help further your career.
These relationships typically blossom within the workplace, but over half of UK workers believe the relationship crosses into life outside of work. And while most think it’s perfectly acceptable to have a work spouse when married or in a relationship, over a third of professionals think it could spell trouble for personal relationships. In addition, a further 11.5 percent believe the relationship is at a high risk of becoming romantic in nature.
“With UK professionals spending upwards of 35 hours in the office each week, it’s not surprising to learn that they are turning to colleagues for support and guidance. Having a close friend at work can bring a range of benefits and could ultimately make staff more productive. It’s important that UK employers recognise the importance of workplace relationships and create an environment that fosters openness and permits workers to socialise. However, workers must take responsibility and ensure their work spouse relationship remains professional,” said Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.
Whilst work spouses appear to come with a host of benefits, the relationship could also present some challenges. 23.7 percent of workers admit that falling out would make work awkward, and 15.3 percent believe the relationship can be distracting and it could make co-workers feel uncomfortable.