Business romances are growing, but the risk is there

The survey found that 33% of office workers in the U.S. report that they are currently related or have been involved in a romance in the workplace. This is 6% higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of office romances has increased since the start of the pandemic, according to a survey of U.S. office workers conducted by Alexandria, the Virginia Human Resources Society, and most employees as well as employers have no problem with this.

The survey found that 33% of office workers in the U.S. report that they are currently related or have been involved in a romance in the workplace. This is 6% higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 50% of employees report that at some point they were in love with a colleague.



“We spend so much time at work. For someone it will be natural to have feelings or relationships with someone in the workplace at some point in your life. Many employees have no problem with this as long as it does not affect productivity, ”said Amber Clayton, director of the Center for Knowledge at SHRM.

The survey also found that 77% of workers in the U.S. say their employer does not require them to disclose a romance in the workplace, and the vast majority of those who are in a relationship with a colleague do not disclose it to their employer.

SHRM says employers should have a formal policy regarding romantic relationships between colleagues, but not one that prohibits this.

“In fact, it should ensure that employees understand expectations and responsibilities, especially when it comes to workplace behavior. It’s helpful for employers to do this not only for themselves … but it’s also good for employees, so they need to follow some guidelines, ”Clayton said.

There should also be clear recommendations as to whether employees meet with supervisors or subordinates. Despite this, 12% of respondents said they had met with a subordinate, and 19% had met with a boss.

The risk of romantic relationships with colleagues is the same as for any romantic relationship; they do not always last. But in the event of a breakup of a business affair there is a chance of serious problems.

“There may be claims of harassment, claims of revenge, potential leaks, if one or both people decide they no longer want to work for the company, or they may want to move to other departments,” Clayton said. An ugly office breakup can also affect morale.

Not all office novels are actually romantic. SHRM says that 28% of respondents had or have someone they consider their “working husband”, i.e. a colleague with whom they have a platonic but close and personal relationship.

SHRM A full report on the growth of romance in the workplace and survey methodology is available online.

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