A recent survey has revealed that one in five Irish workers has a ‘work husband’ or work wife’.
A ‘work spouse’ is a co-worker who a person has a close, platonic friendship with – usually of the opposite sex.
A survey from jobs.ie questioned 2,770 respondents and revealed that nearly half (46%) had witnessed this type of relationship in their workplace.
A fifth said they had a work husband or wife themselves, and 88% of those said they would remain close if one of them left for another job.
Christopher Pie is general manger at jobs.ie. He says that having a work spouse is beneficial to employees.
He said: “We spend almost one third of our lives at work, so a strong connection with colleagues is a natural development that contributes to a positive workplace environment.
“The term ‘work husband or wife’ can sometimes be misconstrued by employers as something more than it actually is.
“It simply refers to a strong platonic friendship between two colleagues, that, if openly recognised, can have a realm of business benefits.”
Elsewhere, the survey revealed that 82% or workers had a colleague that they felt comfortable enough to confide in with issues in their personal lives.
Nearly two thirds (60%) believed they had a colleague who would support them in any workplace tensions with other co-workers, while 46% said they always share their lunch breaks with the same work mate.
Pie said that work spouses are not only good for the people involved in such relationships but also for the company they work for.
He said: “A collegiate environment where employees feel supported by their peers fosters a strong sense of community and improves motivation and morale.
“It also has a role in reducing employee turnover, as people are likely to stay longer in a job where they feel a part of a team with a good working relationship. Employers don’t have to go to great expense or take any drastic measures to foster a collaborative working culture.
“It can be as simple as encouraging employees to socialise through organised events or an internal social and wellness committee.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling