Watch out for Cupid’s arrow at the office this Valentine’s Day. According to CareerBuilder’s annual office romance survey of more than 4,000 workers nationwide, dating a co-worker is a fairly common occurrence, with 39 percent of workers saying they have dated a co-worker at least once during their career and 17 percent report dating co-workers at least twice. But does inter-office dating have to end up as a bad romance in your HR folder? Not necessarily. Thirty percent of those who have dated a co-worker say their office romance led them to the altar. From first glances to eternal vows, here’s what CareerBuilder’s survey discovered about the dating habits across America’s workplaces.
Lighting the spark
Between budget reports, department meetings and emails, how can two co-workers become more than just colleagues? The answer is simple: get out of the office. Social settings outside of the office were cited most often in regard to workers connecting on a romantic level. Some of the most popular catalysts for dating co-workers include:
- Running into each other outside of work (12 percent)
- Happy hours (12 percent)
- Late nights at work (12 percent)
- Bonding during lunch break (11 percent)
What’s on your business card may bring you a better love life than what’s on your dating profile. While the majority of workers surveyed tend to date people in different professions or functions, 20 percent report that they are more attracted to people who have a similar job. Given the long hours of some professions or the naturally occurring bond between employees in high-stress jobs, considering your cubicle mate as a potential soul mate may not be a bad idea. The five industries leading in office romance are:
- Leisure and hospitality
- Information technology
- Health care
- Professional and business services
Perhaps the most problematic part of dating a co-worker is the inevitable ranking of job titles. While the majority of relationships developed between peers, 29 percent of workers who have dated someone at work say they have dated someone above them in the company hierarchy, and 16 percent admitted to dating their boss. Women were more likely to date someone higher up in their organization – 38 percent compared to 21 percent of men.
If you do find yourself in an office romance, should you be open about it or keep your lips sealed? While it’s best to check your company’s policy before making the news public, most workers who have had office romances say they were open about their dating situation. However, not every business welcomes love into the office air: 35 percent report they had to keep the relationship under wraps.
Even if you’re not dating somebody at work, your job may still have an impact on your relationship. Twenty-six percent of workers report that what someone does for a living influences whether they would date that person. Six percent of those surveyed say someone broke up with them because their job required too many hours at the office, they didn’t make enough money or the person didn’t like their line of work.
When it comes to office romance, the ease of meeting potential dates may not be worth the extra effort to remain professional alongside your significant other, but bringing the same passion and energy to your relationship that you bring to your job has the potential to create a very happy work/life balance.
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