Work becoming the new hot date

Feb 14 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

If you found a rose or mysterious scented letter on your desk this morning, you are not alone – a tenth of U.S workers say they have their eye on someone at work.

The modern workplace is more often than not awash with furtive relationships, often fuelled by a high-pressure, long hours' culture, that eventually spill out into the open.

More than four out of 10 of more than 6,000 U.S workers polled by recruiter said they had dated a fellow worker.

What's more, more than a third of relationships that start in the workplace end up with the co-workers marrying.

A similar poll of 421 workers for CareerBuilder's British arm found a similar story, with an identical 43 per cent of workers reporting that they have dated someone at least once during their careers.

But British workers appear more fickle about committing to a relationship, as just one in five said they had gone on to marry their co-worker.

A slightly higher percentage – 12 per cent against 10 per cent in the U.S – also said they would like to date a current colleague.

The U.S research found more than a third of workers felt unable to make their relationship public.

A fifth admitted they had dated a colleague who was married and 27 per cent had dated someone who held a higher position in their organisation, with 14 per cent dating their boss.

The male office lothario was less common than perhaps might have been expected. In fact, women were more likely than men to date someone higher in their company's hierarchy, the poll found.

Just over a third of women said they have dated someone holding a higher position in their organisation, against a fifth of men.

"While office relationships are more accepted today than 10 or 20 years ago, workers need to remember to keep the romance off the clock," warned Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of HR for

"Maintain your professionalism at all times and don't let the relationship affect your performance at work. Seven per cent of workers said they have left a job because of a romantic relationship with a co-worker," she cautioned.

A total of 12 per cent of the workers polled said their relationship with a colleague had begun when they ran into each other outside of work.

The other top scenarios where office romances sparked included: at lunch (11 per cent), happy hour after work (10 per cent) and late night working (9 per cent).

The British survey, meanwhile, reported three out of 10 workers admitted to dating someone who at a higher level, with one in five women dating their boss at least once during their careers, against just 5 per cent of men.

Three out of 10 men had dated someone in the office who was married, compared with just over a fifth of women. A third had kept their office relationships a secret.

Much as in the U.S the most common place for love to blossom was outside work, but workers also confessed to meeting up over lunch (11 per cent), at an office or company party (7 per cent), while working late (4 per cent) or on a company business trip (3 per cent).


Older Comments

There is nothing wrong with dating your boss. According to Dr. Babe Livewilder at, dating your manager has a self-education component. Dating him or her doesn’t make you promiscuous, it makes you someone who doesn’t want to spend his or her life with the wrong person and who has hopes of finding the right partner.