Much like the sizzling temperatures of the season, office romance is heating up workplaces, according to the results of Randstad's latest “Global Workmonitor” survey employees in 32 countries around the world, according to a press release.
On average 57 percent of global respondents indicate romantic relationships occur in their workplace. The data indicate this happens more often in China, India, and Malaysia (all around 70 percent). In Japan (33 percent) and Luxembourg (36 percent) however, romantic relationships in the workplace are less common.
Stacy Parker, executive vice president of Marketing for Randstad Canada, says, like it or not, office romances happen. "People spend a significant amount of time in the office, and it is often a place where people feel a sense of community. The company is likely filled with people who share the same values, principles, work ethic, skills, and education. So it's not that surprising that romances tend to spark between employees," she says.
Parker recognizes that there are risks that are associated with office romances. "Many employers frown on office relationships for good reason. It can disrupt productivity not only for those in the relationship, but for those who work with the couple. It can also hurt morale if favoritism between the couple is perceived, or if the relationship ends very badly," she says.
Therefore, a global average of 40 percent of employees believe a romantic relationship with a colleague interferes with their performance at work. The concern is highest for employees in India (63 percent) and Luxembourg (65 percent).
However, 72 percent of respondents believe romantic relationships in the workplace do not need to be problematic, with the highest percentage of agreement from Spain, Mexico, and Hong Kong (around 81 percent).
The survey results also found that when a romantic relationship does occur, 44 percent of global respondents believe one of the two must be transferred to another department. But only 24 percent believe that one of the two should be forced to resign.
Parker advises, before getting involved in a romantic relationship with a colleague, to find out if your company has any policies on office dating. "Many companies are open to the idea, but your company could have a no office romance policy. If you don't have an office policy against it and you do decide to go ahead and date your co-worker, keep it out of the office. This means no public displays of affection. Keep it as professional and low key as possible. It's also a good idea to never date someone you supervise or who supervises you," she says.