When you think of TV’s most famous romantic duos — Jim and Pam, McDreamy and Meredith, Turk and Carla, Sam and Diane, Mr. Burns and Smithers – they all have one thing in common: They met on the job.
But when it comes to finding love, it’s not just reserved for primetime. Regardless of the economy, one thing remains the same: The workplace fuels romance.
“Employees are working longer hours and under increased pressure, creating an environment that could cause relationships to bloom,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.
CareerBuilder’s annual office romance survey of more than 5,200 workers found that nearly four-in-ten (37 percent) workers said they have dated a co-worker at some time during their careers. That’s in line with the 40 percent who said the same in both 2009 and 2008. Almost one-third said they went on to marry the person they dated at work.
And what about the office crush? While eight percent of workers currently work with someone who they would like to date, with more men (11 percent) than women (4 percent) reporting they would like to do so.
Twelve percent of workers reported that their relationships started when they ran into each other outside of work. Some other situations where Cupid’s arrow flew between co-workers:
- Happy hour
- Working late at the office
- Company holiday party
- Business trip
The question remains: Once the relationship is established, should workers keep it a secret?
“Workplace relationships are more accepted these days, with 67 percent of workers saying 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 Haefner.
The survey also showed the repercussions of workplace romance, with 5 percent of workers saying they have left a job due to an office romance. To be on the safe side, Haefner offers these tips if you want to spark a workplace romance:
- Know your company’s office relationship policy: While some companies are completely open to office romances, others may have stricter policies. Make sure both parties in the relationship are aware of potential rules or consequences.
- Beware of social media: 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.
- Always take the high road: If your relationship should end, do your best to maintain professionalism and not let the issues affect your performance on the job.
So tell us your office romance story. Was it a success or did it fizzle?