With offices full of men and women flirting over their computers one second, and bickering over the air conditioning the next, nobody knows what really goes on between colleagues. New findings from Opinium Research reveals that all the quiet whisperings between people at work about what their colleagues got up to at the last office party may have more legs than you first think.
As most people now spend the majority of their time in the workplace, it?s not surprising that 1.5 million people have begun a workplace romance in last 12 months, with 18-34 year olds twice as likely compared to the average adult and most likely to partake in ‘extra-professional’ activities. Even if people haven?t acted on their thoughts, eight per cent of people have considered dating a colleague in the past 12 months, with men (11 per cent) more likely than women (four per cent) to consider an office liaison.
From those who have begun a workplace romance, three in five (59 per cent) are still dating, with the average relationship lasting just eight weeks. The research also shows that five per cent of all workplace relationships only last one night, and one third (31 per cent) admitted they had cheated on their partner to date a colleague.
Amongst those who had a workplace romance, one quarter (23 per cent) had subsequently left their job as a result of the workplace romance, and a further five per cent are currently looking for another job as a result.
Just between us…
When asked if they tried to keep their romance a secret, two thirds (63 per cent) admitted to trying to keep it quiet, and one half (45 per cent) acknowledged that their attempts to keep it a secret failed as everybody found out. Of those who attempted to keep their romance a secret, on average they were able to keep it to themselves for four months.
Of those who?s office romances became public knowledge, one third (35 per cent) stated their colleagues were pleased when they found out, one quarter (24 per cent) indicating their colleagues were shocked, and one fifth (22 per cent) saying that their colleagues claimed to have already know. Amongst those who attempted to keep their romance a secret, two fifths (39 per cent) did so with private messages via email / messenger, one third (33 per cent) didn?t speak to each other more at work, and one in five (17 per cent) came in at different times.
With career the only focus for some, one in 17 (6 per cent) people admitted they would consider having a work place romance with someone higher up at work if it enhanced their career prospects, and one third (30 per cent) claimed they had been propositioned by somebody at work. Amongst those that had been, one quarter (25 per cent) were propositioned by their boss, four fifths (79 per cent) were by a colleague, and one fifth (22 per cent) by a client.
James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research said: ?With people spending most of their day in the workplace, it makes sense that some couples get together in the office. There are many pit falls to dating somebody you work with so make sure you?ve considered the consequences.?
Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 3,610UK adults aged 18+ from 19th to 21st January 2011 and 2nd to 4th of February 2011. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
UK predicted 2011 population figure 49,529,000 (ONS)