A new poll was conducted people asking about workplace relationships and the idea of a “work spouse.”
A work spouse is a phrase referring to a co-worker with whom someone shares a special relationship that can include a bond similar to a marriage.
Of those surveyed, 21 percent think it is OK to have a work spouse, while 45 percent said it was not appropriate. However, there was a big difference in how different generations feel.
Those in Gen Z (ages 18-24) mostly felt that a work spouse was acceptable, with only 39 percent saying it was “not OK,” and Boomers (55+) agreed, with only 40 percent saying that a work spouse was not OK.
Millennials (ages 25-34), however, felt differently. Of adults aged 25-34, 57 percent said it wouldn’t be acceptable to have a work spouse. Only 18 percent said they thought a work spouse was OK, while 17 percent said it depended on circumstances. Eight percent said they did not know.
It is not unusual for close relationships to form in the workplace. Depending on the environment as well as the duties and functions of the particular position, the job may require enough collaboration that would naturally develop into a close relationship.
But when it comes to the use of the phrases “work wife” or “work husband,” experts would advise against it. They say, “Given the current environment, we would recommend against using this phraseology. Although this phrase has been used innocently throughout the years to describe employees—more commonly of opposite genders—that work closely together and rely on one another, the terms ‘wife’ and ‘husband’ can imply that a sexual component exists between the two members, and that can cause discomfort.”