Nearly half of office workers surveyed in the United States see advantages to an office romance, but an overwhelming majority choose to pursue love elsewhere due to office politics and perceptions. These results are the second in a four part Workplace Index Survey of 279 workers on the nature of work commissioned by Steelcase, a global office environments manufacturer.
While only 17% of respondents have engaged in an office romance, many see personal advantages to dating a coworker. Just under 50% of American workers (47%) would enjoy dating a colleague that understands the issues they face at work, and 42% believe that their mood would improve, encouraging them to go to work each morning. A third of respondents would also welcome the ease of coordinated personal and professional lives. Despite the lack of official restrictions on office romance—only a quarter of respondents said that their company prohibits office relationships—most employees are influenced by the unwritten rules of the work environment
Nearly 90% of office workers cite awkwardness if the relationship does not last as a chief deterrent, while 80% want to avoid being the subject of office gossip. Furthermore, 65% of respondents believe an office relationship is looked down upon by their work colleagues. Gossip aside, there is hope for those who choose to pursue an office romance. Of respondents who have dated a coworker, a third of the relationships were long term, and 15% led to an engagement or marriage.
Additional survey findings include:
- 17% of respondents have dated a coworker.
- 85% of respondents believe an office romance would be a workplace distraction.
- 74% of respondents believe they would have a difficult time drawing the line between their work and personal life if they engaged in an office romance.
- 53% of respondents said their office romance was unsuccessful.
- 43% of respondents know someone who has had an office romance.
- 12% of respondents know someone who has had a long term relationship with a coworker, while 34% know a coworker that turned an office romance into an engagement or marriage.
A similar European study found that 82% of respondents in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom have not dated a coworker. In the United States, 83% of respondents have not dated a coworker.
The Steelcase Workplace Index Surveys address pertinent issues in today’s work environment. This continual workforce feedback is essential to the development of Steelcase’s knowledge of the workplace and to the company’s product development and corporate ventures aimed to increase worker effectiveness and productivity. Results of parts 3 and 4 in the “Nature of Work in 2008” series examine naps at work and social networking. Past surveys have covered working on office gossip, vacation, ergonomics, and workspace personalization.