With Valentine’s Day around the corner and a future, as of publication, where regular, pre-pandemic contact with others seems possible, it’s an understatement to say quite a few people are thinking about romance. It isn’t easy to know why you have feelings stirring up over your co-worker, but office romance is an age-old phenomenon.
In a 2021 survey from Zety, the site found that 58 percent of people responded “yes” when asked if they had dated a co-worker. While there are ways, as discussed in a previous SRS Insight, that an office romance can be kept professional, Zety also reports that of the 75 percent of respondents who tried to keep their romance discreet, their co-workers found out 82 percent of the time. With these numbers in mind, it might be worth considering how dating in your workplace might be a terrible career decision that negatively affects you, your partner, and the work environment as a whole.
When asked if the office romance harmed the professional relationship, 25 percent of women said “yes” compared to 13 percent of men. The power dynamics between genders should be considered before dating your co-worker. Especially in businesses that have traditionally favored men in positions of power, When there are 72 percent of women and only 59 percent of men saying their office fling was long-term, that is revealing. There is no stopping turbulent relationships from directly affecting the office culture.
Is it “Right?”
It depends. Certainly plenty of people, 33 percent formed a stable, committed relationship while and after working together. But much like concern over power dynamics due to gender or role, there’s also a question of ethics. Zety reports that 52 percent of respondents had dated a peer, with 24 percent dating a subordinate. That’s nearly 1 in 4 in higher positions that had romances involving possible conflicts of interest and nepotism. Within these office romances, there were many decisions made that may have affected their romantic partner’s career. Furthermore, the survey revealed 11 percent of respondents dated their boss, and 8 percent had dated someone who outranked them. Dating your boss or manager is a horrible idea and can cross some dangerous ethical lines depending on the situation.
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