It’s no secret that work spouses improve work life. They lower stress levels, give moral support, and provide a safe place for ranting in the office. Seriously, they rock. If you don’t already have a work spouse, learn how to woo a work wife (or husband) today.
A lesser known truth, though, is that your work spouse can benefit your real marriage too.
From work parties to office gossip, it’s common to get dragged into a partner’s work turmoil. Sometimes that’s welcome. But other times, bringing work home can add an unwelcome dynamic to your relationship—like stressing about PowerPoint deadlines over a romantic dinner. Or talking about tomorrow’s unnecessary meeting when you should be discussing your daughter’s English grade. A work spouse allows you to leave office thoughts at the office. Your ‘In-Real-Life’ (IRL) partner will probably be thrilled with the following benefits:
Relief from work-gossip
Gossip is only interesting when you know the people involved. So, telling your real spouse about “what so-and-so did in today’s meeting” might not elicit the level of interest you’re expecting. Your work spouse, on the other hand, will love to hear that juicy office dish. We aren’t saying to stop sharing all work news with your marriage partner (although some couples do practice a ‘no work talk’ rule). Only that there’s a difference between gossip and news—and they’ll more appreciate hearing the latter.
You have a built-in date to “awesome” work events
“I promise to stand by you in sickness, in health, and at every company picnic,” said no wedding vows ever. Similar to work gossip, work events are mostly fun when you know (and like) the people at the event. If your spouse is not much of a party-goer, give them a break now and then by taking your work spouse instead. Besides, what’s the point of winning the three-legged race championship with someone who won’t be at work to gloat about it?
Less stress at home
Stress is a killer. When our minds are preoccupied with deadlines, salaries, promotions, and work rivalries, they aren’t focusing on other important topics like romance, kids, and sex. Worse still, stress increases our cortisol levels which, in turn, makes us anxious, angry, and prone to petty disagreements. It also decreases our libido. Thankfully, work spouses are shown to lower stress by letting you vent at work. By the time you get home your mind is free to...have fun.
More money (maybe)
A work spouse doesn’t guarantee a quicker career trajectory, but there is evidence that they can help. In her book Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor, Sylvia Ann Hewlett focuses on the role of Sponsors, stating that, “A sponsor sees furthering your career as an important investment in his or her own career, organization, or vision.” Whether you are on the same team or not, you and your work spouse are most likely people with similar work ethics and career trajectories. Keep sponsoring each other’s success and share in the rewards.
Your work spouse can’t solve all your marriage challenges; they won’t even help you remember your partner’s birthday. But they do help your IRL partnership in lots of other ways. So, give your work spouse an HR-appropriate hug when you see them. Then go home and give your IRL spouse, the other kind.
Want a work wife, but don't know how to woo one? Follow these steps to be on your way to work spouse bliss.
Chelsea Larsson is a content marketer for Zendesk and a frequent contributor to Relate. She believes any problem can be solved with a pen, paper, and Pimm's cup. Find her on Twitter: @ChelseaLarsson.
Olivia Kingsley is a copywriter. She believes in the arts, slow-scrambled eggs, and beginner’s luck. Olivia can be found on Twitter: @oliviakingsley.