Is your office Valentine’s Day date set to end in disaster?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

If you’re contemplating embarking upon an office romance this Valentine’s Day, you may want to think again, as new research shows few workplace relationships end well.

A survey compiled by job search engine Adzuna has revealed that a surprisingly high percentage of UK workers have had a romantic relationship with a colleague.

The data shows a whopping two-thirds of Brits have courted a co-worker, and indeed 28% found their current partner through their workplace.

But not all of these relationships have a happy ending – not only do relationships kindled in the office have a higher-than-average chance of divorce, they often spell disaster in a career sense too.

Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter said: “With the traditional office job evolving and fewer people physically in the office from nine to five, 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.”

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.

These fantasies become reality with surprising frequency, however;, 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 to 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.

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 too, 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.

It is therefore unsurprising that nearly a fifth (18%) of workplaces now impose a ban on dating in the workplace.

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