The lines between professional and personal lives are blurring, with work “spouses” serving as confidants on extremely personal issues. From health problems to money matters and sex, there are few topics not discussed, according to a survey of 640 white-collar workers in major metropolitan markets in the United States and Canada.
Thirty-six per cent of married executives discuss their sex lives with a close colleague compared to 26 per cent of non-executive colleagues, found the survey by media solutions company Captivate Network in Chelmsford, Mass. Sixty-three per cent of married executives also discuss health issues and 59 per cent confide about at-home problems.
Twelve per cent of married executives also admit to crossing the line with a co-worker compared to eight per cent of non-executive respondents.
"Given that many people are actually spending more time with their colleagues rather than their families on an average day, it's no surprise that these types of workplace relationships are gaining importance," said Jacqueline Olds, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and associate in psychiatry at McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
"It isn't surprising to see these types of relationships gaining importance — in many cases, these are influential, positive and supportive relationships that can be critical to succeeding in today's high-pressure work environments."
Most respondents (55 per cent) keep interaction with their work spouse confined to the office though 24 per cent maintain close communication with their work spouse on weekends and weeknights. And 22 per cent of married people say their real spouse does not know about their close colleague (32 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women).
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