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‘Work spouses’ increase employee engagement, says survey

Nine out of ten (86%) employers believe strong work relationships make it easier to retain staff, with employers overwhelmingly agreeing (70%) that it’s healthy for employees to have a ‘work spouse’.

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A Totaljobs survey exploring the growing ‘work spouse’ trend (employees having one person they are particularly close to at work) analysed feedback from over 4,000 employees and 103 employers.


Nearly all employers (92%) say strong relationships make people more engaged with their jobs, while 96% say they create a happier workplace.


However, 33% of employers report that they have had to deal with employee issues after work friendships have gone bad.


After work friendship sours between employees, nearly half (41%) of employers say work and productivity was negatively impacted. Over a third (38%) witnessed bullying behaviour in the workplace and the same number again say office rumours spread through the company (38%).


Worryingly, a quarter of employers (26%) say employees took stress or sick leave because of a breakdown in work friendships, while one in four (26%) say employees even ended up resigning.


The value of work friendships to the workplace has not gone unnoticed, with four in five (80%) employers saying strong work friendships are important.


Employers have different ways of handling situations where employees don’t seem to make friends at work, with most trying to get employees to bond through work and team projects (47%). A further 19% of employers speak with employees to understand why they are isolated, while 23% of employers choose to leave them alone.


If friendships do blossom in the workplace, most employers (70%) say it’s positive for the broader team to see others getting along.

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