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Water cooler chats and desk gossip: Why your work wife is good for your health

‘I’m here to work, not make friends.’ Erm, hard pass.

It’s no secret that work is more fun when you’re doing it with your pals.

The stress of the nine to five is eased by gossip across your desks, coordinated trips to the kitchen, and an after work pint.

Let’s face it, you spend more time with your work colleagues than pretty much anyone else, so life is easier is when you actually like them.

But those water-cooler chats with your work wife are doing more than just making the time fly by.

New research has revealed that having friends at work is actually beneficial to your health.

While work spouses sometimes get a bad name, the study found that women between 45 and 70 who said they get on well with their colleagues were found to be at a lower risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, depression and high blood pressure.

The research completed by the University of Queensland followed 7,694 women for two decades, and regularly asked them to rate the quality of their relationships with family, friends, partners and colleagues.

The women that said they were ‘very dissatisfied’ with their relationships with colleagues at work were twice as likely to develop 11 common illness – such as stroke and cancer – than those who reported being ‘very satisfied’.

Even when the researchers looked at other factors, such as wealth and lifestyle choices, the link remained.

The scientists behind the research hope that it encourages women to invest in friendships later in life.

Lead author, Professor Xiaolin Xu said: ‘At the individual level, these implications may help counsel women regarding the benefits of starting or maintaining high quality and diverse social relationships throughout middle to early old age.’

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  • Posted on February 22, 2023