The term “work spouse” is used to describe a close professional relationship between two people. A work-spouse relationship doesn’t have to mimic your romantic relationships in terms of the genders involved, nor does your work spouse need to have the same job title as you. (Think Barack Obama and Joe Biden or Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.) Basically, a work spouse is just a best friend at work who’s on your team and helps you get stuff done.
Most people would really benefit from a relationship like this. Who wouldn’t like having someone around every day who is both a close friend and a professional ally? But, there’s even more to it than just that. Here are a few reasons you really need a work spouse.
1. You can hone your ideas.
When you have a work spouse, you have someone at work that you can trust. You can totally and completely be yourself with this person, and that has a lot of benefits. One of them is that you can bounce your ideas off of them in a way you couldn’t if you weren’t more comfortable. You can risk seeming silly, na?ve, or idealistic. You can try out your ideas, even in the earliest of stages, with your work spouse rather than just letting them ruminate inside your mind. When you have a BFF at work, you have a safe place to be yourself and take risks. And, that could lead to some pretty sweet innovations and also some solid professional progress for you both.
2. You’ll be happier and have more fun.
One of the best things about having a work spouse is that it’s a ton of fun. You have a partner-in-crime to bash around the office with. You joke, you laugh, and you have a good time together. Sixty percent of people with a work spouse say they look forward to work because of the relationship, according to research from Totaljobs. It’s wonderful to have good friends at work — they can share your professional experience with you in a way personal friends can’t. And, they make wading through those long meetings, days and weeks a lot more fun.
60% of people with a work spouse say they look forward to work because of the relationship.
3. You have an honest and wise critic.
Another great thing about having a work spouse is that you have someone around who really knows you and will be honest with you. Your work BFF knows you well enough to be able to tell when something is pushing your buttons, for example, and they also care about you enough to tell you to calm down before you say something you’ll regret. Sometimes, our closest friends and family members know us better than we know ourselves. People who love us and get us can sometimes see things about us that we can’t see. Having a work spouse means you’ll enjoy the benefits of this type of closeness at work, even though sometimes the tough love might sting a little. A good work spouse will be there to build you up — and you’ll have an honest, wise and loving critic when you need that, too.
4. It will help you cope when things get tough.
Your work-BFF can also help you keep things in perspective when work gets especially challenging and stressful. The friendship and fun you enjoy together coupled with honesty and candor goes a long way. It will help you cope with problems at work as they arise. Together you can vent, reason, keep the mood light and come up with a plan for how to proceed. If you were left to process especially challenging days or circumstances on your own, it might not be as easy.
5. It will make work feel more like home.
Most people don’t expect to find a work spouse, but they’re pleasantly surprised when they do. Still, these folks are the lucky few – only 17 percent of workers reported having such a relationship, according to the Totaljobs survey. These workers have something special — and it changes their professional experience considerably. One of the biggest benefits is that it can make work feel a little less work-y. Walking into work can feel as comfortable and easy as walking into your living room when your work spouse is waiting there for you — offering their support, their honesty, their understanding and their friendship.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you ever had a work spouse? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.