Love From 9 to 5: Office Romance Statistics
With the amount of time spent in the office, it’s no wonder flings and flirting at work are common - but just how many of us have indulged in some workplace wooing? Our SEO company and digital PR agency team has the latest office romance statistics, taken from surveying over 4,000 people, which show that 48% of us will date a co-worker at one point or another.
It’s not all fun and games though, as a massive 84% of employers are not happy with their employees dating and even 4% of people have lost their job due to a workplace relationship. The worst is when a relationship goes south as 21% of people have quit a job due to awkwardness following a doomed romance.
Despite employers discouraging dating in the office, 22% of people admitted to dating their boss or manager. Famously, McDonald's fired chief executive Steve Easterbrook after he had a relationship with an employee, citing reasons such as "violating company policy" and showing "poor judgement". This goes to show that no one is immune to the workplace romance curse.
The biggest culprit for these saucy secrets is the holiday season with 66% of office workers starting their romance during the winter months. This all comes to a head at the office Christmas party, where the lethal combination of mistletoe and mulled wine results in 31% of first kisses between colleagues.
Scandalously, 36% of affairs involved a married partner - but it’s not just cheaters that conceal their dirty doings. In fact, 57% of us will be hiding our sordid affairs at some point in our professional lives.
Employees dish their worst workplace romance tales
“I had not long started my job as a project coordinator when I really started hitting it off with a female co-worker. We were dating casually and, as these things do, word spread around the office. Little did I know that she had also dated my desk neighbour…for two years! Things got a little awkward after that.”
— Dillon S, 25, Project Coordinator.
“My wife wanted to get her career back on track after having our first child. There was a perfect role for her in my office, and I pulled a few strings so that she would get it. Spending so much time together eventually took its toll, she couldn’t handle working under me, and we both had very different ideas about how our jobs should be done. We ended up getting a divorce…But we still work together now!”
— Tim W, 41, Communications Manager.
“I was working in a very male-dominated field. I also had to work late quite often. This dangerous routine led me to kiss a married colleague one evening. Not wanting to be branded as a homewrecker, I didn’t pursue the relationship. My colleague had other ideas, and he left his wife after realising the marriage wasn’t what he wanted. We didn’t end up dating, and he eventually got back together with his wife, but would constantly leave me notes detailing his undying love for me. I had to leave the company in the end.”
— Ceris M, 30, Car Sales Assistant.
“I started dating a guy from our finance department. It was going well for a few months until I started to see another side to him. He became possessive and a general ‘glass is half empty’ kind of guy. When I finally broke it off I thought my only saving grace would be that we worked in different departments, and wouldn’t have to see each other that much at work. My ex took every opportunity to call me up; from asking how to use the new coffee machine, to demanding the email addresses of other colleagues. Things got worse when it came to our work’s Christmas do. He saw me talking to a male colleague and started telling everyone how I left him because he ‘didn’t make enough money’. Luckily, I was about as interested in my job as I was in salvaging our relationship - I soon found somewhere new”
— Catrina A, 26, Recruitment Officer.
How to manage office relationships
Without outright banning all employee relationships, it can be difficult to manage office dating. Reboot’s CEO and HR Manager, Naomi Aharony, has this to say about workplace mingling:
“Workplace romance is unavoidable but can be tricky to handle when issues arise such as wanting time off together, arguments which adversely affect productivity and distractions caused by office gossip.
If a relationship breaks down then this can be very disruptive for a business, especially if two key people are involved. In my experience as a HR manager, it's best to forward plan in these situations so you are better prepared to deal with any sudden changes that could affect the company or its employees.”
Raunchy workplace romance statistics
The full results:
HAVE YOU DATED A COWORKER?
ARE YOU HAPPY FOR EMPLOYEES TO DATE?
Prefer not to: 46%
WHERE DID YOUR FIRST KISS TAKE PLACE?
At work: 9%
At a work do: 32%
WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE LIAISON?
Someone of the same rank: 48%
Someone of higher standing (i.e a manager or boss): 22%
Someone of lower rank: 30%
WAS THE AFFAIR EXTRAMARITAL?
Yes, I was married: 11%
Yes, they were married: 18%
Yes, we were both married: 7%
DID YOU HIDE YOUR RELATIONSHIP FROM OTHER EMPLOYEES?
DID YOU LOSE YOUR JOB AS A RESULT OF YOUR LIAISON?
DID YOU OR YOUR PARTNER QUIT DUE TO THE RELATIONSHIP?
With some figures doubling since we carried out the first study in 2017, you can expect these office romance statistics to rise in the coming years as more saucy messages and snogging takes place in the workplace!