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Perks of Work: Romance Sometimes Blooms Between Work Spouses

Feb. 14, 2020, 10:46 AM

Time for Perks of Work, our weekly recap of intriguing data, surveys, and trends about the 21st century workplace.

Patiently climbing the corporate ladder? Do you religiously Slack with work pals about dream benefits packages? Check this space every Friday to keep up with the latest water-cooler talk.

The Heart of the Matter

There’s no stopping workplace romances.

As Bloomberg News reported the other day, amorous feelings are commonplace in the office and management better get used it.

What Yours Truly found interesting about the Society for Human Resource Management survey is how often workers laboring alongside a “work wife” or “work husband” are increasingly falling for their cubicle mates.

SHRM found that 25% of the 696 U.S. workers surveyed said they have had a work spouse.

“Though often conceived as a playful, platonic rapport between co-workers, more than half of those with a ‘work spouse’ admitted having romantic feelings for that person,” the SHRM analysts wrote. “Notably, nearly 20 percent more men than women reported feelings for their ‘work spouse.’”

Generation Zzzzzzz

Combating workplace stress is as easy as 1, 2, pass me a blankie.

Health hub WebMD learned from polling workers that the most-wanted wellness benefit involves sleeping on the job.

The survey checked in with employees from different generations, picking the brains of baby boomers (born between 1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1980), and Millennials (1981-1996).

The stress reduction benefit at the top of millennials’ wish list: nap time. Over half of the respondents (57%) in that age group would appreciate being able to nod off for a bit during the workday.

Gen Xers’ were torn on their dream perk, casting an equal number of votes for naps (49%) and free snacks/drinks (49%). Free snacks/drinks and was the second favorite (52%) among millennials.

The boomers were most into free snacks/drinks (44%). They had a three-way tie for second place: 34% endorsed naps, teleworking, and employer-sponsored stress management programs.

Debt Service

Stressed about making ends meet? Benefit provider Purchasing Power predicts that financial wellness options will keep growing in 2020.

Mounting data about employees spending their workday worrying about money problems (50%) is driving employers to find release valves, CEO Trey Loughran says.

“Offerings that will be more readily available next year include instant pay benefits, payroll advances, low-interest installment loans and automated, payroll-deducted savings accounts that help employees living paycheck-to-paycheck with unexpected expenses without resorting to high cost debt,” Loughran wrote online.

How and when that relief might be delivered remains in flux.

But Loughran is sure one buzzy tax break will soon be spread around more generously.

“There is no question student loan debt repayment benefits will be added to more companies’ benefits packages over the next few years,” he said of a retirement-related project near the top of Treasury’s burgeoning to-do list.

Hungry for more? Send any tips, polls, or story pitches to wrojas@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Warren Rojas in Washington at wrojas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com

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