According to a new survey, office romance is on the rise, especially for millennials. A survey conducted by the North Carolina firm Public Policy Polling found that 84% of millennials say they would engage in romance with a co-worker – compared to 36% of Generation X workers (age 30-45), and only 29% of Boomers (age 46-65). So basically the young people in your office have probably at least made out with each other. The poll also found that the millennial generation is more open to dating their supervisors than all other age groups combined. Forty percent of millennials said they would date their supervisor, compared to 12% of older respondents. There is clearly a mind shift in the ages when it comes to office romance.
It seems the younger generation may have a more naive view of the consequences of an office romance as 40% of millennials report no negative effects whatsoever from an office romance. Only 10% of older workers shared that sentiment, meaning the majority of employed Americans feel more harm could be done than good.
Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Marriage & Family Psychotherapist and Author, told The Grindstone:
“It is not unusual to find yourself having positive feelings about a boss, particularly a boss who you so admire, who is intelligent and has a superb mind … you may feel yourself becoming attracted to this person, but it is important to realize that it doesn’t usually mean that you are “falling in love” in a complete way … it is mostly about falling in love with the power or brains of a boss – when a boss acts as a true mentor or you are fortunate to be in an organization who assigns you a mentor … the kinds of attention that this brings can easily feel special and you can become infatuated with your mentor, but again it doesn’t usually mean that you are “falling in love” – a boss may feel like your Mom or your Dad in ways that bring you comfort, increased self-esteem, and practical, helpful feedback and good conversations … it can be easy to confuse your appreciation and warm feelings and believe you are “falling in love.””
What is interesting about this survey is that many of the respondents didn’t even know if their companies had policies in place about employee romance. Fifty-seven percent said that if they had a romantic relationship with a colleague, they would share information about it with others – either friends, co-workers or via social networks. “One of the most interesting pieces of information that came from this survey was that 34% of workers said they didn’t know if their company had policies governing romantic relationships in the workplace,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options, which released the study. “Human beings are going to interact and these relationships are going to happen, but it is essential that companies have clear policies in place that outline what is acceptable and what is not so that there are no perceptions of inequality, favoritism or an imbalance of power.”
It is not hard to believe why you would fall for a coworker, especially considering how much people work now a days but you need to understand the weight of your actions.
Dr. Tina Tessina, author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again, told The Grindstone:
“Research shows that the workplace is where the majority of couples meet. There’s a reason for this: Unlike online dating, newspaper ads, singles events and speed dating, the office gives you a chance to actually get to know and even bond with a person before declaring your interest. Working side by side with someone daily, seeing him or her under pressure, commiserating over problems and congratulating over wins gives you a portrait of the person on the inside as well as the outside. Because it’s the inside that matters in a love relationship (despite all the media focus on the external) love can grow without either party really being aware of it. The couple develops a relationship “infrastructure” in an organic, natural fashion, as opposed to forcing it. These relationships often last a long time, because they’re reality based. Unfortunately, the same ingredients can make office connections tempting even to the married, which is the downside of the issue.
The reason so many people date in the workplace, even though it’s often disastrous, is that it’s easy. You get to know someone well by working alongside them, observing them interacting with others, seeing them under stress. A lot of these relationships do work, and it’s actually a good way to meet someone — it’s just that the consequences of a poor choice are so big.”
Tessina says keep in mind these do’s and don’ts when it comes to navigating office romances:
- DO remember that you need your job, and act accordingly
- DON’T get involved with a married co-worker, no matter how much you like each other.
- DO keep your in-office behavior businesslike — coworkers shouldn’t be able to tell that you’re dating.
- DON’T share information with your coworkers about your dating situation. You’ll become the subject of office gossip.
- DO understand that, if the relationship has problems, you may wind up having to change jobs.
- DON’T suddenly start dressing provocatively at work, it will alert your coworkers that something’s going on.
- DO remember your e-mails, phone calls, etc. are not private. If you must talk to your in-office inamorata, use your cell phone in a private space, where you can’t be overheard, or talk in code.
- DON’T allow yourself to be used by someone else in the office to get influence or information, and don’t cuddle up to your boss in hopes of a promotion or raise.