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7 Unbelievable Workplace Romance Stats You Should Know This Valentine's
Organizational Cultures

7 Unbelievable Workplace Romance Stats You Should Know This Valentine's

HR blogs
Nirvi B
February 22, 2022
Human Resource Management Platform
7
mins

When Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich’s relationship with an employee became public, he resigned and new-age office romance started to ring in.  

Barack Obama - former president of USA - also met Michelle Robinson in a legal office. He started as a Summer Associate; she had already worked there as a junior lawyer. Michelle was then Obama's adviser who felt that dating her protege would be inappropriate.

Barack, on the other hand, couldn't get his thoughts off of her. Michelle finally gave in when he was ready to resign. The office romance was thus given a chance, and the rest is history.

Workplace romance are nothing new in our culture – it's the stuff that makes movies & television so entertaining. NBC teased viewers of The Office for nine seasons with the "will they or won't they" tension between Jim and Pam (spoiler alert: they would and they did).

The manner in which management handles daily work can set the tone for workplace romance.

7 Workplace Romance Facts You Must Know

Workplace Romance - peopleHum

1. Almost all out of marriage affairs are a result of workplace romance

Workplace romance statistics reveal that 85% of affairs outside of marriage begin at work. (Good Therapy)

Late nights at the office, long work trips, mutual hobbies – it's easy to see why so many extramarital relationships start at work.  A huge portion of an average person's life is spent at work. It's no surprise that the workplace breeds romance with the intensity and collaboration created by work-related duties and extended time together.

2. Nearly half of those involved in a workplace romance are top level executives

Almost 40% of those who had an affair at work were the company's owners or executives. (SHRM)

Nearly half of employees who were in romantic relationships with co-workers were at the top of the organisation. Furthermore, workplace romance statistics revealed that middle-management employees made up 26% of those who had a romance at work, intermediate-level employees made up 25%, and low-level employees made up the rest.

3. To disclose or not to disclose is the new Shakespearian tale on workplace romance

It's been two weeks since Jeff Zucker (too) resigned as CNN's president. Not because of a romantic relationship with a co-worker but because he failed to disclose it.

If employees aren’t even ready to tell their friends about it, can they really be expected to know exactly when to tell their superiors? Is one date with a peer the threshold? Or one particularly flirtatious email exchange? If one or both people are still married and haven’t told their spouses, do they really have to tell their bosses first? - Yale Insights

The Proposal movie also follows Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds as they attempt to deceive not only family, friends, and coworkers, but even an INS agent.

77 % of U.S. employees believe their employer does not require them to disclose a working romance, and the majority of those who have had a workplace romance (77 %) have not told their boss about it.

4. Many have no idea about their company’s take on workplace romance

Given the backlash at CNN, companies should consider their own workplace romance policies: How explicit are they? And how well are they implemented? This is something that businesses owe to their employees.

41% of employees aren’t even sure what their company's policy on workplace romance is. (Vault)

With the above stats, it's no surprise that more than half of the workforce is involved in workplace romance. The problem with relying on policies is that most employees, especially in the C-suite, don't read, remember or care about them. That’s why these policies should be announced by HR in multiple formats – Zoom meetings, emails, videos, Slack channels, etc. – to ensure employees at all levels absorb the content.

Also read: How to enhance your company announcements

5. Chances of a future workplace romance are higher than you know  

If given the opportunity, 72 percent of employees indicated they would get engaged with a co-worker again.  (Vault; Forbes)

The majority of individuals polled claimed they would leap into a workplace romance, AGAIN. Many people stated that their previous relationships had little impact on their lives or careers.


6. COVID-19 is the matchmaker behind new workplace romances

More than a quarter of employees who are now in a workplace relationship have started a new workplace romance during the pandemic or continued an existing workplace romance that began prior to the pandemic. (SHRM)

The proclaimed rules of businesses are all over the place. Some companies, such as UPS, had tight procedures in the past, terminating any managers who interact with lower-level employees, even if they are not direct reports. Companies used to deal with conflict like this by terminating the junior employee, who was nearly invariably a woman.

7. Company culture is often the third wheel

Corporate culture is an invisible force that guides employee behaviour. As per Mainiero, those working in a conservative culture, as opposed to a liberal culture, are less likely to engage in a workplace romance, with a fear of retribution from management. Fast-paced and dynamic companies tend to be less stringent.

86% of surveyed women who worked for conservative orgs reported workplace romances was discouraged, whereas 50% of those for liberal orgs neither encouraged or discouraged it in their claims.  

“Love Contracts” may not be the only solution

"Love contracts," according to 75% of HR professionals, are ineffective. (BambooHR)

When HR gets involved, they may require employees to sign a "love contract." These are written documents signed by a pair of employees starting a consensual workplace romance. A document proclaiming the relationship to be consensual and not the employer’s responsibility. Love contracts simply imply that businesses are more concerned with avoiding litigation than with the well-being of their employees.  

Office romances have existed since the beginning of time. It's time for offices to figure out how to handle them.  

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Sneha

October 25, 2021

A very inspiring list. Thanks for putting this together

Vanessa

October 25, 2021

This is such a great list of women leaders! More power to you all

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