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Office romance fine, but please no heavy petting

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Only four percent of HR directors ban office romances; 37 percent of employees have had a work relationship in the past. Workplace disruption is the primary concern for 42 percent of HR directors.

A fifth of HR directors have no concerns over office romances, According to new research undertaken, the office may no longer be off-limits for meeting potential partners, with 97 percent of HR directors surveyed either always or sometimes allowing office romances in the workplace. Only four percent ban it from taking place in the office. The survey queried 200 HR directors across small, medium and large businesses and highlights workplace disruption (42 percent) and other employees’ discomfort (34 percent) as major objections when it comes to workplace romances.

Despite these concerns, more than one in three (37 percent) employees have admitted to having had a work relationship in the past. In fact, out of the 1,000 employees questioned in a separate OfficeTeam survey2, nearly three in four (73 percent) believe romances should be allowed in the workplace. Workers aged 35-44 are the most inclined to have had an ‘Offair’, according to the survey, with more than four in 10 (44 percent) admitting to having had a relationship. In comparison, only 22 percent of young adults (18-24) have had a ‘water cooler’ romance. Office breakups can be tough and is a situation that all concerned want to avoid – particularly the quarter (25 percent) of HR directors who are concerned over this possibility and the effect it could have on the rest of the office. The external perception concerned one in ten (ten percent) HR directors with only a fifth (19 percent) having “no concerns” over office romances.

200 HR directors were asked, ’What is your primary concern regarding workplace romances?’ Their responses: Phil Booth, Director, OfficeTeam said: “As colleagues spend increasingly longer hours working side-by-side, it isn’t surprising that workplace romances may occur, particularly as many employees have met their future wife or husband in the office. However, there are many real issues that employees and senior managers need to acknowledge when considering situations of this nature. HR departments should stay informed about potential legal ramifications but most importantly maintain open lines of communication with line managers and employees to help address any issues as they arise.”

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