芝加哥培训服务公司JB Training Solutions总裁、《经理人3.0》（Manager 3.0）一书的作者布拉德•卡什表示，在许多行业，“工作配偶”现象是“每周7天，每天24小时”工作模式的必然产物。卡什说：“人们会讨论与工作配偶多年的关系。如果这种关系处理得当，会非常完美。”如爱人般亲密的同事关系在不同职务之间需要经常配合的行业里更为常见。例如，在广告业，文案团队与美工团队经常数年甚至数十年一起密切合作，有时候甚至会整个团队一起跳槽到竞争对手的公司。执法合伙人之间也有类似的关系。写作拍档茱莉亚•莫斯金与吉姆•西弗森在两人合著的烹饪图书《厨房大战：2位厨师，12项挑战，125份食谱，一场史诗般的厨房争夺战》（CookFight: 2 Cooks, 12 Challenges, 125 Recipes, an Epic Battle for Kitchen Dominance）称呼彼此是“工作中的爱人”。书中按时间顺序记录了考验两人友谊的烹饪挑战。
When David Kurtz was browsing for engagement rings for his now-wife Rebecca, he sought advice from his "work wife" Christine, texting her photos and consulting her on styles until he found the perfect art deco number. He and Christine shared an office at a tech startup, putting in 14-hour days and working closely with each other. Christine helped Kurtz every step of the way in his courtship of Rebecca, from screening online dating profiles to editing his emails and suggesting outfits.
"I clearly remember her getting me dressed for my first dates with my wife," says Kurtz, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur. "When she came to my wedding, I had to thank her in front of everybody, 'Christine helped me not screw this one up.' "
It seemed natural for the two to become close at work, in a pressure-cooker startup environment. Christine was married with a child, and romance was off the table from the beginning. Before long, Kurtz was picking up her dry cleaning, and she was grabbing his prescriptions at the pharmacy.
The relationship made work more fun, because they were more interested in each other's projects, Kurtz recalls, and their shared understanding of the work environment made it easy to discuss ideas or share advice. "It's of great value to have someone who knows what you're talking about," he says. "You can't always turn to your spouse or girlfriend and have them understand what you mean about work."
When work and personal lives blend
The phenomenon of a "work spouse" is a natural outgrowth of the 24-7 work culture in many industries, says Brad Karsh, president of JB Training Solutions and author of Manager 3.0. "People talk about relationships they've had for years with their work spouse. If it's managed and handled appropriately, it's perfectly fine," Karsh says.
Spouse-like partnerships at work are more common in industries where people with different job functions need to pair up frequently. In advertising, for instance, copywriter-art director teams might work closely together for years or even decades, sometimes leaving the same company to go to a competitor as a team. Law enforcement partners experience the same kind of bond. And writing partners Julia Moskin and Kim Severson refer to each other as "work wives" in their food book CookFight: 2 Cooks, 12 Challenges, 125 Recipes, an Epic Battle for Kitchen Dominance, which chronicles a cooking challenge that tested their friendship.
Having someone you trust completely in the cubicle next door certainly has its advantages. That sort of close colleague may understand situations and anecdotes in a way your non-work friends or actual spouse may not.
"It allows you to share and bounce ideas off somebody you trust," says Karsh, noting that someone with a work spouse may think twice before leaving that employer for a competitor because of the power of that relationship. "Coworkers are the unsung heroes of employee retention."