Of all those surveyed, only 14.8% would not condone an office romance ? with more than half (52.7%) saying they would go along with it, depending on the circumstances. Nearly half of those surveyed (44%) have seen more than five office romances occur throughout their careers ? more than any other category. And while more people agree (39.8%) than disagree (29.7%) with the phrase ?office romances are disruptive?, a further 30% aren?t bothered either way.
Almost everyone (96.9%) feels that ?colleagues at the same level of seniority? is an acceptable scenario for a romance, hopefully meaning similar ages, wages, lifestyle scenarios and, most importantly, single status.
There is marginally more acceptance for a senior male employee dating a junior female staff member as opposed to the other way around (a difference of 3.2%) ? now we just need more women in the top jobs to sway those odds. In terms of position within the company, the majority of PAs (more than a third, 36.3%) feel that middle management is the most appropriate stage of your career to conduct an office romance.
Funnily enough, while finding love with a colleague is frowned upon if you?re senior management, once a member of staff progresses to board level it suddenly becomes more acceptable again, as attested to by 28.9% of our survey respondents. We?re not sure if this is a reflection on age or experience ? perhaps at a certain stage of their life people are deemed as being clued-up enough to make informed decisions about relationships.
Interestingly, the fact that the majority of PAs would be prepared to accept an office romance, and don?t believe it would necessarily disrupt their work, is in direct contrast with how they feel it would reflect upon them personally. Most of the stories recounted indicate that the romances were kept secret, unless they went on to become established, long-term relationships.
Matters of the heart
Here?s a selection of some of the tales of love and attraction behind company doors that particularly struck a chord with us:
?We fell head over heels and married. I changed my job because he was my line manager but here I am, 10 happy years later, with a lovely husband and a great job!?
?Lasted nine years. We were both made redundant at different times, though the love affair carried on, but then I walked away. Never have a romance with a married man!?
?Have had a couple of office romances in the past. They were frowned upon by colleagues and the relationships were quite short-lived because of this.?
?It was very ?hush-hush? ? which added to the excitement! I loved coming to work every day and was very motivated when there. It ended when he left to take on another job, but we remain good friends to this day.?
?There was an instance where a team member was involved with a senior manager and, when I questioned her on a piece of work, she immediately spoke to him and I was consequently reprimanded on some bogus pretext. It happened to several other staff members in the team, too, and made for a very difficult working environment.?
?Met my husband at work, we used to arrange to rendezvous at the coffee machine at certain times of day ? never been so high on caffeine! Later, I left and found another job as I felt it would compromise both our relationship and our work once it became serious between us.?
?Sadly I have not enjoyed an office romance personally ? although, looking at my male colleagues, that might not be such a bad thing!?
?I have had one romance in the workplace, which happened when I was only 20. Once we had split after 18 months it became very awkward for myself and the other staff. Ten years on, I believe if someone were to fall for a colleague then I wouldn?t object, as you can?t help where you find love. However, how you deal with dating someone in the workplace is the real question.?
The lucky winner of our prize draw, chosen at random from all the participants who completed our survey, is Celia Hinder from L?Or?al Golden in London, who receives a selection of Martha Stewart stationery to brighten up her desk. Congratulations to you! Our heartfelt thanks go to all those who took the time to take part.