Is there a special someone you have at work that brings you your morning coffee just the way you like it? Do you have a close co-worker to joke with, bounce ideas off of, and complain to? Well, you may just have yourself a work spouse.
What is a work spouse exactly? They are, “Individuals in the work place with whom you have a closeness, emotionally, professionally, and ultimately a kind of collaboration that is informal but very important, not only to how you do your work but how you roll with the punches, travel the roller coaster of an office or a factory and make your way through the world of work,” Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn said on Boston Public Radio Thursday.
Research from Gallop has shown that people with a work spouse are seven times more likely to enjoy and be more involved with their jobs.
“Of all the benefits that result, one is as a kind of sounding board, another is as a source of… a person with another perspective on office politics. Think how knotted up we can get by the politics and the personalities of our work place. Here is someone who can help you sort it out who isn’t you and that has your interest at heart. A buffer against all the stuff that happens. Someone to laugh with.”
Having a work spouse can also improve the relationship with your real spouse. Complaining about work and detailing the minutia or your office routine can bore your partner, putting a stress on your relationship. A work spouse can help take that pressure off your marriage. “You're living the same movie,” Koehn said about the connection between work spouses.
Listen to BPR’s interview with Nancy Koehn above.