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On Valentine's Day, don't forget your 'work spouse'

Feb. 14, 2014 at 2:59 PM

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A survey indicates many employees can identify a "work spouse" who shares office space, lunches and conversation, if not a romantic relationship.

George Mason University management Professor Olivia O'Neill, a researcher of office culture, has noted what she calls "companionate love" in offices, where feelings of caring, companionship and affection abound.

Her research, conducted with that of management Professor Sigal Barsade of the University of Pennsylvania, indicates a little love in the workplace can lead to less absenteeism and increased employee satisfaction, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

A career survey by Vault.com found 38 percent of female respondents had a "work husband," and 28 percent of male respondents could identify a "work wife." One person said the relationship included frequent lunches and conversation.

Some "work spouses" eventually developed actual romantic relationships, the newspaper said.

Most work relationships are platonic but evident, added Karla Bergen, a communications professor at Omaha's College of Saint Mary, who worked on the survey. She added most respondents described their office spouse as a best friend at work.

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