Remote work has largely been seen as a benefit for workers, many of whom enjoy having no commute and find it easier to provide child care without going into the office five days a week.
But there are some aspects of the workplace that can’t be replicated from home — including the age-old practice of confiding in a “work spouse.”
So is it appropriate — maybe even beneficial — to have a work spouse? That seems to depend on who you ask.
The generation gap
A recent poll found that a majority of those in the Millennial generation disapprove of the notion, but those in surrounding generations often sees the work spouse relationship as one that can reduce stress and help make it through the day.
Self-described “40-something Gen Xer” Rebecca Knight recently wrote an article extolling the benefits, asserting: “Work spouses are close colleagues who rely on each other for support, friendship, and gossip. There’s no sex, hardly any fights, and lots and lots of work talk.”
Such bonds can help overcome the boredom and annoyances of work, she argued.
The survey says…
While 57% of Millennials told pollsters that it wouldn’t be appropriate to have a work spouse, that view was only shared by a minority of those in the younger Generation Z and the older Baby Boomer age group.
Knight joked that the Millennials “just havent met the right person yet,” adding: “All those avocado-toast-loving kids don’t know what they’re missing.”
The primary argument against work spouses is that it can cross boundaries — particularly when one or both of those involved are in committed relationships.
But work consultant and coach Keith Ferrazzi made the case for a work spouse, or what he called “lifeline relationships,” which he said can provide “butt-kicking candor” when you need to hear an uncomfortable truth.