Are You Crossing The Line With Your Work Spouse?

By Danielle Braff
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to a 2017 study by Office Pulse which analyzes office professionals, approximately 70 percent of people in office jobs have or have had “work spouses.” Work spouses have become so prevalent in the office space that psychologists have cited them as being essential to a positive work experience.


She’s the first person you look for when you step into the office, and the last person you see before you leave. You often eat lunch with each other, and you take coffee breaks together every chance you get.

He knows everything about your kids and your spouse, and when you’re out for post-work drinks, many assume that you’re dating.
This is your work spouse: a co-worker with whom you have a super-close platonic relationship, modeled on a marriage.

You support and bicker with each other at work about office and non-office issues. Picture President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, or NBC’s co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. Guthrie even slipped up and referred to her husband, Mike Feldman, as Matt recently on the “Today” show.

Today, 70 percent of people in office jobs have or have had work spouses, according to a 2017 study by Office Pulse, which analyzes office professionals. This is up from 65 percent in 2010 and 32 percent in 2006.

They’re becoming more prevalent because men and women are putting in more hours at the office. Americans work an average of 47 hours per week, which is 1 1/2 hours more than they did a decade ago, according to Gallup.

As a result, co-workers are depending on their work partners more than their real partners, said Chad McBride, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Creighton University, and co-author of a 2015 study on work spouses.

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