February is everyone's favorite time of year to investigate the pros and cons of romantic relationships that bloom in the workplace. Most are coming up with the same results, however: Workers are turning to the once "taboo" office pool in search of companionship, and it appears to be paying off.
CareerBuilder's annual office romance survey found that 31 percent of workers say they have dated someone they work with over their career; 11 percent report dating co-workers at least twice during their career. Of those who have dated in the workplace, nearly one in 10 workers (8 percent) say they have dated someone at work within the last year.
Additionally, 38 percent report they went on to marry the person they dated in the office. That's better odds than on most dating websites! The survey also showed the repercussions of workplace romance, with 6 percent of workers saying they have left a job due to an office romance.
When it comes to dating higher-ups, women were more likely than men to date someone above them in their company's hierarchy. Twenty-six percent of women said they have dated someone who holds a higher position in their organization; 17 percent of men report they have done the same.
Some workplace relationships may have their beginnings in current workplace crushes. Nine percent of workers currently work with someone whom they would like to date, with more men (16 percent) than women (2 percent) reporting they would like to do so.
Eighteen percent of workers reported that their relationships started at lunch. Some other situations where Cupid's arrow flew between co-workers include:
- Happy hour
- Working late at the office
- Company holiday party
- Business trip
"Workplace relationships no longer carry the stigma they once did, as 34 percent of workers said they aren't keeping their romance a secret. However, it is the responsibility of the individuals to understand company policy and make sure they adhere to it," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Especially in this economy, workers are spending more time in the office, and the lines between working and socializing are being crossed. Workers need to keep it professional under all circumstances, though, to ensure that the quality of their work is not negatively impacted."
Haefner offers the following tips for workers who may want to spark a workplace romance:
- Know your company's policy on office dating: While some companies may have a formal policy, others may not have anything at all. Make sure both parties in the relationship are aware of potential rules or consequences.
- Social media – office relationship friend or foe?: Before you start posting pictures and status updates about your newfound coupledom, it may be better to inform your co-workers or boss in person. That way, there is less chance for gossip or speculation.
- Keep the relationship out of the office: Do your best to maintain professionalism and not let the dating issues affect your performance or others on the job.
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