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UK – The highs and lows of office romances

14 February 2014

Two out of five (39%) British workers have dated someone who worked for the same company, with 16% admitting to have done so more than once, according to an annual survey on office romances from CareerBuilder.co.uk.

Budding office romance may even lead all the way to the altar, or possibly to a new job. Of those who dated someone from the office, three in ten (29%) ended up marrying their office partner. While, one in ten workers admitted to having to leave their job because of their romantic relationship with a co-worker.

One in four (41%) workers who have dated a co-worker said their partner was higher up in the organisation with 24% saying they dated their boss. However, only 6% of workers who have had an office relationship said the relationship helped them progress in their career.

Most office romances start by co-workers simply working together (57%) or at a work social (13%). Some other situations that led to romance include running into each other outside of work (12%), company party (8%), and on a company business trip (4%).

Scott Helmes, Managing Director of CareerBuilder UK, commented: "Whether you are in an office or outside, when you fall for someone it just happens. If your valentine is in the office, remember to always keep it professional during business hours. Company policy doesn’t have to be a romance killer, but always consult it first and make sure that your romance is not making your other co-workers uncomfortable."

While most workers were open about their dating situation, nearly two in five (35%) said they had to keep their relationship with a co-worker a secret. Almost half (44%) said they accidentally ran into co-workers while out socially with their partner. Of these workers, 27% pretended that they weren’t dating their co-worker. 

Careerbuilder provide the following tips for navigating a workplace romance:

  • Check the Company Handbook – Some companies have strict policies around office romances. Acquaint yourself with the rules before turning a professional relationship into a personal one. 
  • Proceed with Caution – Some romances lead into marriage, but others can lead into disaster, 7 % of workers reported having to leave their jobs because of an office romance that soured. Take the time to get to know someone first and carefully weigh risks and benefits.
  • Compartmentalise – Keep your work life separate from your home life.  Avoid showing PDAs (‘public displays of affection’) in the office and don’t involve co-workers in personal disagreements.
  • Think Before You Post – Be careful what you post on social media. You can end up outing your relationship before you’re ready to discuss it.  

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