As Kenyans near Valentine’s day on Friday this week, reports show that almost 70 percent of workers in organizations are currently in or have been in a work spouse relationship with a colleague.
This is according to a report done by Corporate staffing on 150 human resource professionals in a bid to find out the effect of work spouse relationship on work productivity.
While presenting the findings on Monday in Nairobi, Corporate Staffing services managing partner, Perminus Wanaina noted that work spouses make employees feel safe and supported because they have someone to bounce their ideas off without feeling shy.
The research shows that, work spouse relationships helps them get more work done faster because they work more seamlessly rather than if either of them had to work with someone less in synch with them.
” In dissecting what the working spouse talked about and at what time, 59% of the respondents said they keep their interactions and the working spouse confined to the office, while 41% communicate even outside work on weeknights and weekends,” Wanaina said.
However, on the flip side, work spouse relationships harm work productivity. They can lead to hurt feelings, divisiveness, tarnished reputations, and even attrition if employees feel they are in an unhealthy work environment.
” From the research, it is clear that work spouse relationships have a big effect on productivity and output, something that the HR professionals concurred with. About 77% of the professionals said they are against work spouse relationships,” He added.
It also shows that all this happens because most organizations (51%) do not have any policies that provide direction on workplace relationships, something that needs organizations to adopt to better help employees manage them.
” Bad experiences when work spouse relationships spiral out of control are the reasons why many firms opt for Human Resource policies. If and when a policy is in place, then the HR has a guideline on how to deal with or even have an opportunity to discuss with the “couple” what happens if the relationship ends or is facing challenges, He said.
As for organizations, the report says that it would be futile for any organization to downplay the existence of work spouse relationships and their influence in decision making.
In helping to tackle work spouse relationship management, the report suggests that organizations should operate from the point that relations are a basic social human need, whether in private or work lives, there is a natural urge to meet and have pleasant and trusting connections.
The report titled ‘inside the world of work spouses in Kenyan organizations’ is based on research conducted between December 2019 and January 2020 among 2,550 employees.