With so much time spent in the office, it’s only natural friendships will occur – but should HR be encouraging or discouraging employees from having work spouses?
According to a survey report on work spouses released by Corporate Staffing Services, over 70% of HR managers indicated that they do not support work spouse relationships.
However, 30% of HR managers responded that they support these relationships. For them, these quality work relationships are linked with higher job satisfaction.
From the respondents, those who enjoy spending time with their colleagues are more likely to be motivated and participate in pursuing institutional goals than those without work spouses.
As well as benefits to the way people work and increased organisational productivity, work spouses have been linked to lower levels of absenteeism and turnover.
Not only do people with good working relationships have a reason to turn up to work they also have an incentive to stay with the same company.
While there is a risk of work spouses both moving jobs together, the survey indicates that overall these people are less likely to leave than those who do not have a close friend at work.”
There is a suggestion that these friendships occur even more frequently when people are faced with adversity or are unhappy in their jobs. In this way, these relationships may be acting to protect both the individuals involved and their organisations from the negative effects of lower job satisfaction or decreased stability.
The respondents however consistently show a relationship between work spouses and enhanced organisational outcomes therefore they should not only be tolerated but encouraged.
However, as with any relationship, there are risks with work spouse relationships. If a ‘work marriage’ breaks down it can negatively impact on the work environment in which case it would be vital to remind both parties to remain professional.
Some of their reasons were:
- The objectivity of issues at the workplace is lost.
- Waste organization’s time discussing gossip, family and personal issues.
- It may bring about favouritism and biases in staff treatment.
- Can affect decision making and productivity at the workplace.
- May result in sexual harassment.
- Chances of collusion to mostly defraud the company can be rampant.
- Lack of proper supervision for fear of offending the other party.
- Maybe be a source of cover-ups, unfair decisions in promotions, salary reviews or even work assignments.
- Misuse of Organization’s funds for “work-related” trips which is not the case, un-professionalism, a bad example to younger employees etc.
- They create a case of conflict of interest and subjectivity in work relationship.
- Emotion imbalance among spouses depending on their mood which affects the performance.
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