In an age of virtual dating and a casual approach towards relationships, it has never been easier to meet your next love interest; however, research shows that meeting a significant other through work is still one of the most popular methods of coupling. Is mixing business and pleasure ever a wise idea, can an office relationship stand the test of time and just how many people are getting it on at work? Here are a few things to consider before you embark on an office romance.
Who has an office romance?
Studies show that the older you are, the more likely you are to have had an office relationship. 44% of millennials (those aged 18 to 34) admit to becoming romantically involved with a co-worker, in comparison with 59% of 35- to 49-year-olds and 66% of those aged 50+. Perhaps this is indicative of more life experience and, as studies also reveal that baby boomers are the least likely age group to want to become involved in workplace relations again, it could mean that they do not always end well.
Those who are thinking of becoming involved with a co-worker might have considered how the rest of the office would handle the news, and they would be right to do so. An office relationship rarely stays between two people, with studies indicating that other staff may view the relationship with disdain, discomfort and even hostility.
This is particularly true when relationships blossom between two people on different pay scales. 32% of people feel that a co-worker may gain professional advantage from being involved with someone in a more senior position, while 27% disapprove of romance between two people in the same department. Feelings of negativity tend to be particularly targeted at women; in addition, women are more likely to lose their job or be relocated when hierarchy relationships break down.
Should I go for it?
The adage about not being able to control who you fall for is true here. With research proving that workplace relationships are the ones most likely to end in marriage, it certainly seems that it can work out for many people; however, the relationships that tend to work out best are those that do not involve direct contact (so colleagues from a different department) and those that do not involve hierarchical or subordinate roles.
Consider company policy, any potential career complications and what would happen should things turn sour. If you can live with the outcome, there is no reason why an office romance could not work out for you.
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