Back in the day, you had that one friend you counted on during your entire school life. They were your go-to person both in times thick and thin. The same trend continues when you begin working. Over a period of time, this person becomes your ally with whom you share a close working relationship. Both of you pump each other up during stressful times and also raise a toast to celebrate triumphs. You confide in each other; bond over countless conversations and coffees and have good fun together. Apparently, there is a name trending for such a bond and they are calling it ‘work spouse’. You can be of opposite or gender; it doesn’t matter.
Interestingly, jobs website, Totaljobs conducted a survey to not only find an answer to how common having ‘work spouses’ or BFFs at work is, but also peoples’ attitude towards such strong partnerships in a space where you spend major share of the day. They surveyed 4,001 employees and 100 employers from March to May this year. The findings revealed that 17% of employees have a work spouse or admitted to using the term ‘buddy’, ‘work wife’ or ‘work husband’, ‘my side-kick. 48% said that they share strong relationships with more than one colleague at office. But, then there were 35% who don’t feel the need to develop relationships at work.
So, what impact do these work spouses have on each other? Well, seems like it is tremendous. 60% people responded saying “I look forward to work thanks to our relationship”. This seems to suggest that you have someone at work who you can rely on it motivates you to keep going. You are able to handle pressure situations better for you know they have your back and Pandora box of advice ready. 39% say they ‘feel more productive at work’ and 87% say they talk face-to-face.
Talking about the responses from employers, 70% agreed that it’s healthy for employees to share a close bond with colleagues. They say “friendships are good for morale: it's positive for others to see team members in close relationships.” At the same time, 17% said that such friendships ‘make others feel left out’ and 10 % said that they are a distraction and have no place at work’. Yet again, 80% said that in general strong work relationships tend to improve company culture and makes it a happier workplace.
But, what happens when one decides to leave the organization as well as their partner behind? Are they prepared to deal with aftermath considering 7% employees said they would feel ‘bereaved’ without their partner and 23% employees would consider quitting?
Should there be a contingency plan in place so that one-half of the whole continues to perform as expected? Indeed. As an employer, you must ensure that staff members develop multiple healthy relationships with their colleagues. It prevents them from dwelling in the misery of being left behind since they would have other people to fall back on. In the survey, 60% employers said that they ‘encourage employees to socialize out of work’. Perhaps this is one way of ensuring they get to know one another better and bond with more people rather than being pals with just one?
Do you have a work BFF? How much will it affect you if either of you decides to leave your current job? Will you mourn, carry on or follow them (not necessarily to join their next workplace)?
As an employer do you think these relationships can result in twice the number of resignations and unhappiness at work? How prepared are you to handle such scenarios even if the ratio is not calling for attention?