Surprising Amount of Office Romance
There’s a winter storm here on the east coast, and with a practically empty office, minds aren’t on the job. According to a survey from Vault.com reported on CNN, it’s common to be thinking about other things, like love, in the workplace.
17% of survey respondents admitted they were caught being more-than-colleagues… “in the boardroom, the stairwell, the engineering lab, the office kitchen, the boss’s office.” The survey doesn’t reflect whether coworker lovers are being less conspicuous or whether there’s been an increase of “activity.”
In my company, two people in a relationship are not allowed to work in the same department. I know of at least one occasion where the company could save a lot of money in staffing if either the couple separated or if the departments were allowed to combine (as they should be).
The article has three tips for office romance: don’t mix business with pleasure, know your company’s policy on office romance, and keep cuddling out of the copy room.
I don’t know if I agree with these tips or with the prude anti-romantic policies in most corporations. Life is short, and happy workers lead to a number of good things for the company. I believe “everything in moderation” is the best policy. If office romance were not discouraged, people wouldn’t have to hide their feelings (mental distraction) and Human Resources would be free to concentrate on more important issues.
Of course, along with “everything in moderation,” harassment should be taken seriously. Consenting adults should be free to do as they wish as long as it doesn’t interfere with the business.
There are tons of comments here from people who have been involved with office romances, but successful and unsuccessful. Here’s one I liked:
The love of my life, someone I had waited for all my life, came into my life at work. You just have to be smart about it and keep work at work, and private life, private. Its not that hard to do if you both have respect for one another and others around you. You have to have the intelligence and instinct to know how to juggle both. If you are truly meant to be together, you will be. It’s not easy sometimes, but if it’s worth it, take the chance, because if you pass it up, it may never come your way again. Im glad I saw my chance and took it. Married and happy for the first time in my life, and I met her at work. She’s my soul mate.
There are just as many ways office romances, relationships or trysts can work as there are ways they can fail. But when has being “safe rather than sorry” ever enriched anyone’s life?
Wow, this post really takes me back. I DEFINITELY enjoyed my share of workplace romance, and wound up meeting my wonderful wife through work. It was pretty exciting to be dating a powerful woman two offices down. Discreet doesn’t begin to describe it.
Companies have some very good reasons for being prude-ish about office romance. Affairs of the heart can be….complicated…*cough* NASA *cough* diapers *cough* attempted murder.
1) Sexual harassment (as you mention) is a big consideration. Not only legitimate unwanted attention, but also fabricated sexual harassment that a scorned lover claims could cost the company.
2) A key strategy for preventing fraud is to have 3 individuals responsible for any given process. If two of those individuals are in a relationship it may be that much easier to convince the third to perpetrate the fraud.
Business is business, after all.
I work at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and was told by one of my coworkers of a couple who decided to get amorous…in the Board room. Not surprisingly, they were caught (because, trust me, there are cameras everywhere in that building) and fired. Smooth.