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Mixing work with pleasure: Two-thirds of Brits have been romantically involved with a colleague

 

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we surveyed UK workers from across the country to reveal the number of employees who have found love in the office. 

Our research shed light on the supposed taboo of workplace relationships in the UK, revealing that 66% of workers in the UK have had a romantic relationship with a colleague and 28% found their current partner at work.

British openness towards workplace romances is startlingly widespread, with three quarters (75%) of workers open to the possibility of dating a colleague and 41% fantasising about doing exactly that. The research also reveals that these romances were often related to workplace hierarchy itself, with a third (33%) of work-related fantasies being about someone in a higher position within the company.

Surprisingly, 22% of those who have dated somebody in the office did so with their boss. In some cases, it actually benefited them professionally with 48% of Londoners who dated their boss admitting the romance helped their career.

Fairly predictably different age groups started their relationships in different ways. Unsurprisingly, 18-24 year-olds were the most likely age group to start a relationship on a night out (27%), while nearly a third (28%) of over-55s started their relationships by working late in the office.

Looking at the industries most likely to date within the workplace, the top five are: 

 

  1. Transport and logistics – 84%
  2. Healthcare – 81% 
  3. Mining and metals  – 79%
  4. Business services – 76%
  5. Capital projects and infrastructure – 76%

 

Surprisingly, transport and logistics was revealed as the industry most likely to date a colleague, with over 80% open to the idea of dating in the workplace. Encouragingly for the true romantics within the transport and logistics’ workplaces, and despite the openness to relationships with colleagues, only 5% of relationships within the industry lasted less than a month.

Sadly, matches kindled in the workplace seem to be especially likely to lead towards divorce, with over a fifth (21%) of workplace relationships actually resulting in separation. Sharing a workplace with a loved one also seems to bring significant pressure to the job itself, with a third (33%) of workers leaving a role to avoid a partner post-break-up and 26% admitting they left their job to give their relationship the best chance to succeed.

To compound the likelihood of people leaving their jobs to avoid an ex, only 28% of those who have dated colleagues are still in a relationship. It is therefore unsurprising that nearly a fifth (18%) of workplaces ban dating in the workplace.

Policies surrounding dating in the workplace have become customary in the majority of industries, with only 29% saying that there were no rules against romantic relations with a colleague. However, despite knowing that there are guidelines put in place, 17% of people had revealed that they didn’t know what the policies were. Intriguingly, 18% of workplaces ban dating a colleague, which is unsurprising given that a third had resigned as a result of a bitter conclusion to their relationship. 

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Hunter, co-founder at Adzuna says: “With the traditional office job evolving and fewer people physically in the office from 9 to 5, we were surprised to see just how many people in the UK still find love in the workplace.

“Whilst 26% of office romances have led to marriage and 27% babies, a larger proportion at 59% have left the company directly as a result, so workplace relationships should certainly be approached with caution.”