Newsflash: Working at home with your significant other instead of your co-workers is weird.
Partnered people already knew that, thanks to the statewide stay-at-home order instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19. But a recent report by a Portland-based company plumbed those depths further and figured out just how weird things get, especially re: home spouse vs. “work spouse” dynamics.
For this incredibly unsettling information, we turn to PRPioneer.com, which decided to rock the goddamn boat by surveying some 3,500 employees working from home about their relationships with their so-called work spouses vs. their actual partners.
Two-thirds of Minnesotans admitted to not being as productive as they could be while working under the same roof as their partner, which probably comes as no surprise. It can be hard to focus around a person you’re probably going to spend the evening with and possibly smooch later.
Weirder is the fact that about 26 percent also said they missed their work spouse more than they would their actual partner. And one in 10 admitted to accidentally calling their partner by their work spouse’s name.
If you’re now throwing a full coffee mug at your computer screen and telling PRPioneer to “SHUT UP AND BE COOL, OKAY?” We feel you. Ostensibly, the fine people who compiled this report do, too.
“Considering the average American employee spends about 40 hours per week working a typical 9 to 5 job, it’s no wonder we seek support, friendship, and loyalty in a space where we (usually) spend a large portion of our daily lives,” the summary said. “However, if you are romantically involved with an actual partner, having a work spouse may trigger feelings of jealousy in your real-life relationship.”
Thankfully, we can take these results with a pretty big hunk of salt. Only 112 of those 3,500 employees were actually from Minnesota, so you can thank about 11 of our friends and neighbors for calling their husbands “Katelyn” or something on accident and making everything a big old thing.
Let’s make one thing abundantly clear. Having a “work spouse”—weird and cringey as that phrase may be—is not a bad thing. This is what is commonly known as having a friend, albeit a friend who happens to be a gender you’re attracted to. If you’re not trying to hide said friendship from your partner, there’s nothing wrong with it—and study after study has found these workplace relationships often make work… well… suck less.
So, if you’re one of those 11 hapless Minnesotans who can’t tell Dan and Katelyn apart, don’t worry about it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing if you don’t make it one.