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May 22, 2008

Do You Have an Office Spouse?

Filed under: General HR Buzz7:41 am

You’d expect this on the TV show The Office, but how many real people have “office spouses?”  Apparently a lot, according to a survey, recently referenced in a Miami Herald article.  The survey reports that 32% of employees admitted having an office wife or husband, up from 23% last year.  The office spouse is a platonic, opposite sex relationship in which employees are best friends who share lunch, gossip, advice, complaints, and trials of work.  Many such employees acknowledge these office relationships can be closer than those with “real” spouses. Employees often spend more time and may share more of the daily challenges together.   Of course the office spouse concept sets the wheels turning in the always fearful HR manager’s head.  How does this change office dynamics?  Is this a two person clique that will offend others? What about teasing or harassment by other employees?  Will it grow into a romantic relationship and if so, then what?  What will the “real” spouses think?   Is this going to require yet another management training session or policy????  Could office spouses be the next protected class???

And people think HR can be boring . . .


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