Office romances nearly at three-quarters amongst younger staff

Almost three-quarters of employees aged 25-34 have been involved in an office-based romance, however, employees have said it can negatively impact their productivity and stress levels.

Viking Direct an office supplier, conducted this research and found that 74 per cent of 25-34-year-old employees have been in an office-based romance. This comes at a cost with more than a third (37 per cent) of employees stating it decreases their productivity and 21 per cent believe it increases stress.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of 25-34-year-olds say they are aware of their employer’s policy regarding relationships at work, but only 17 per cent of over 65s know of their company’s policy. The majority (60 per cent) of over 65s said their employer does not have one.

According to 44 per cent of 25-34-year-olds, the worst part about being involved in an office romance is the gossip that comes with it. For the over 65s (41 per cent) the worst aspect of an office romance is keeping it a secret.

Martine Robins, director at The HR Dept, who offer HR advice and support to small employers, said:

I would recommend having clear guidelines and whether it’s a ‘romance policy’ or some other term, clearly stating the importance of being transparent. Particularly if there is likely to be a conflict of interest or a perception of favouritism.  The effects of trying to deal with such a situation once it is in motion makes it very difficult for all concerned.

Stuart Hearn, CEO & founder of Clear Review, a company that offers software for performance management, said:

There are downsides to office romances. There is the potential for favouritism, distraction from work. But there is also potential for meaningful, lasting relationships, which is something to be celebrated — HR simply needs to ensure performance standards are being met and employees are as productive as ever.

On 4/11/2019, Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s was fired for having a relationship with an employee. Other CEOs came forward and defended Mr Easterbrook. With Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair stating McDonald’s policy not to allow managers to have romantic relationships with direct or indirect employees is a “step too far”.

Viking questioned 2,000 UK office workers on their experience of office romance to put together this research.