Workplace romances always look like a fantastic prospect. You find your soulmate, Mondays are brighter, support is within your reach whenever you need it.
Offices and rules are not what they used to be, so we’ll look into what the latest workplace affairs statistics tell us about office romances that await in 2021. What has changed, if anything? How many people get involved in it, and how often does it end well? Let’s find out!
Top 10 Workplace Romance Statistics for 2021
- 58% of employees in a 2019 survey have had a romantic relationship with a coworker.
- 28% of respondents believe that all office relationships are “fair game.”
- Claims of sexual harassment are the number one reason why people avoid romantic office relationships.
- Almost 40% of people who had an affair at work were owners or executives at the company.
- The number of supervisor-subordinate workplace romances went down in 2019.
- 85% of affairs outside of marriage start at the office, workplace romance statistics show.
- Emotional affairs are the most common type of infidelity at work.
- 41% of employees are not aware of company policies on workplace romance.
- Only 16% of romantically involved coworkers have told others about their relationship.
- 17% of workplace relationships have started at social gatherings.
General Workplace Infidelity Statistics
It is hard to make a definitive list of office romance pros and cons, especially if you’re already looking forward to seeing that one colleague every morning. Here are five basic stats about workplace affairs to give you a jump-start to understanding the topic.
1. One in five employees cheated on their partner with a colleague.
44% of employees said they know colleagues involved in extramarital affairs in the workplace. What’s more, 19% of employees admitted that they had cheated on their significant other with someone from work.
2. 85% of affairs outside of marriage start at the office, workplace romance statistics show.
Late nights at the office, long work trips, common interests – add it all up, and it becomes clear why so many extramarital relationships begin at work.
3. Emotional affairs are the most common type of infidelity at work.
(Couples Therapy Inc; Verywell Mind)
Simply put, an emotional affair is when you’re just friends, but there is still sexual chemistry and attraction present. Emotional affairs can quickly turn into physical ones, especially in the workplace, which is why 73% of emotional affairs start at the office, statistics on workplace romance reveal.
4. 45% of men and 35% of women admitted to having an emotional affair.
Just for comparison, only 20% of workers admitted to having a physical affair. Even though they are not physical, emotional affairs with a coworker still count as workplace infidelity.
5. The majority of female workers think that an emotional affair leads to a physical one.
A survey of 6,330 women showed that 92% of them feel that an emotional affair can quickly turn into a physical one. However, according to office romance statistics, only 8% of female employees believe this is not the case.
Company Policies and Keeping Secrets
We all know workplace romances are forbidden. That’s part of the charm. Although workplaces have been transformed by the pandemic and the 2021 office looks like no office before, but same rules still apply. These workplace romance statistics will reveal how people feel about these policies, how they behave, and how it affects their professional relations.
6. 41% of employees are not aware of company policies on workplace romance.
This is an alarming stat. With such a considerable percentage of employees not being familiar with the rules on work romances, it would explain why over half of the workforce engages in romantic relationships with coworkers.
7. Only 16% of romantically involved coworkers told others about their relationship.
From the percentage of couples who met at work, the majority, or 64%, kept their relationship a secret from most people – 26% told a select few. In comparison, 38% didn’t tell anyone. Concerns over the employer’s reaction stopped 25% of workers from telling anybody about their romance.
8. Only 11% of dating coworkers were punished by their company.
The blowback employees received from companies for starting an office romance usually took the form of a transfer to another department. When it comes to how to handle workplace affairs and make them work, keeping it a secret is not a good idea. It is always better to keep HR informed so they can monitor the situation and prevent any possible repercussions in terms of quality, efficiency, and inappropriate behavior. Around 25% of women report cases of sexual harassment at work.
9. 75% of HR professionals say that “love contracts” are not effective.
How to handle office romance as a manager? First, make sure you are informed of any romantic relationships within the company, including extramarital affairs. Some companies introduce “love contracts,” documents stating that the relationship is voluntary and consensual, limiting the employer’s liability.
However, the majority of HR managers believe that such contracts only encourage workers to hide their affair. The best method is to clearly communicate company policies from the get-go, i.e., before these relationships even start to form.
How Common Are Workplace Affairs?
So common that, if it’s not you — it’s the person next to you. The following stats will show you how involved people are in workplace romances and who engages in them the most.
10. 58% of employees in a 2019 survey have had a romantic relationship with a coworker.
That’s over half of the employees who have engaged in a workplace romance. Even more surprising, 72% of employees over 50 have been in a relationship with a colleague. In comparison, only 30% of 18 to 21 year-olds have had a relationship at work. 42%, on the other hand, have never had any affairs in the workplace, the latest surveys show.
11. 31% of employees said that they’ve hooked up with a colleague.
According to workplace romance statistics, random hookups are the most common type of romance at work. 18% of respondents said that they met their spouse at work, while 22% of those who had had an affair with a coworker said it was a serious, long-term relationship.
12. A 2017 poll showed that 37% of men had dated a colleague.
There doesn’t seem to be much gender difference, as 35% of women had a relationship with someone at work. However, when it comes to multiple affairs, workplace romance statistics show that 20% of male employees had dated a coworker two or more times throughout their career as opposed to just 15% of women.
13. 72% of employees said they would get involved with a coworker again if they had the chance.
Most of those surveyed said they would jump into an office romance if they had the opportunity. Many said that the relationship they had in the past didn’t impact their life or work.
14. The hospitality industry has the highest percentage of office romances, workplace affairs statistics for 2021 indicate.
With 47% of staff in the hospitality industry engaged in office romances, working in this sector makes it more likely to find love at work. Then, you have the financial services industry (45%) and transportation and utilities (43%). 40% of the IT industry workers and 38% of staff in healthcare said they were involved in a workplace romance.
What Do Employees Think About Romantic Work Relationships?
It’s tricky to discuss this topic with colleagues. Everyone knows it’s unacceptable, so this kind of involvement will be dismissed 99% of the time. Luckily, numbers rarely lie, given that they provide anonymity and, thus, honesty. Here is how people genuinely feel about workplace romances.
15. 28% of respondents believe that all office relationships are “fair game.”
Workplace affairs statistics and surveys show that there are mixed opinions regarding affairs in the workplace. 34% think that relationships between coworkers at different levels are not acceptable. In comparison, 26% said that they disapproved of romances between colleagues working on the same project. Only 6% said that they disapprove of all kinds of work romances.
16. 39% of respondents in a global poll are against workplace affairs.
It seems that less than half of respondents are aware of the real-life workplace romance drama that affairs in the workplace can cause, with 39% saying they believe an office affair would harm their career. Only 27% said that they would consider dating a coworker. Interestingly, 19% know that romances at work might jeopardize their job. Still, they would start one anyway if there was a mutual attraction.
17. Claims of sexual harassment are the number one reason why people avoid romantic office relationships.
37% of employees in a survey said that they purposefully avoided any romance at their workplace. Nearly a fifth of respondents cited fear of claims of sexual harassment as one of the biggest workplace romance problems. This was the main reason they had never been romantically involved with a coworker.
18. 56% said they did not engage in any romance at work because they weren’t interested.
33% of those who had never had any work romances said they avoided them because they found such affairs unprofessional. In contrast, a quarter said they were worried about their employers’ reactions, and 22% stated that they wouldn’t like being gossiped about around the office. In fact, a typical office romance story ends either due to the fear of being fired or the fear of being the target of workplace gossip.
Who Is Dating Whom at the Office?
If you’re employed, this question has undoubtedly crossed your mind at some point. It may or may not be obvious, but some statistics indicate patterns when it comes to coworkers getting together.
19. Almost 40% of people who had an affair at work were owners or executives at the company.
According to the survey, from 25% of employees engaged in romantic relationships with a colleague, almost half were top-people at the company. Also, workplace romance statistics found that 26% of workers who had a romance at the office were middle-management, 25% were intermediate level, and the rest were low-level employees.
20. 22% of workers said they had dated their boss, while…
Women are more likely to date their superiors. 27% of women admitted to going out with someone who was their superior at the time, as opposed to only 16% of male workers who had romantic work relationships with their boss.
21. 30% of workers admit to dating someone higher up in the organizational hierarchy than them, workplace romance statistics reveal.
Once again, the dating stats claim that women are more likely than men to go out with someone who ranks higher in their company than they do. To that effect, 35% of female employees had a relationship with someone more senior compared to 25% of their male coworkers.
22. The number of supervisor-subordinate workplace romances went down in 2019.
The percentage of work romances between superiors and subordinates has never been lower, with 13% of supervisors saying that they dated a subordinate, office romance statistics show. Following the #MeToo movement, it seems only natural that awareness is raised over power dynamics and appropriate workplace conduct.
Beginnings and Endings
If there’s a beginning — there’s an end. But, how does it all being? Can people really remain friends after a breakup? Let’s find out!
23. 17% of workplace relationships started at social gatherings.
How to start an office romance? Well, it’s not just about having a couple of drinks and hooking up with a random guy or girl from work. Actually, only a small percentage of affairs in the workplace started during happy hour or holiday parties. 26% of respondents began their affair by working in the same department and 18% by having offices close to each other.
24. Office romances can lead to marriage.
(New York Daily News)
What percentage of married couples met at work? Surveys show that 22% of married couples in the US met at work. Well, this is a stat that should give HR something to think about. Even though social media and dating apps are the most popular way couples meet in the US, the office is ranked second. These are followed by meeting through friends (19%) and meeting in a bar or club (9%).
25. 6% of employees left their job because of romance at work.
9% of female and 3% of male workers said they left their job because their romantic relationship at work ended badly.
What are some of the workplace romance pros and cons?
Dating someone at work could be a dream come true or an absolute nightmare. Depends on how you look at it.
- You get to know someone naturally, instead of being fixed-up or using dating apps;
- You are more likely to share the same interests;
- Observing positive personality traits at work can be a good foundation for a relationship.
- Coworkers gossip and spread rumors;
- Power dynamics could stir up trouble in the relationship;
- You spend all your time together;
- You could endanger your career.
How do you avoid workplace affairs?
Workplace affairs can get very messy. From awkward meetings around the office and uncomfortable situations to dismissals and legal consequences, there is a risk that your office romance will hurt both your career and your heart. Considering this, the best thing to do would be not to engage in a romantic relationship with a coworker, which is sometimes easier said than done.
How do I stay away from office romance?
- Clearly state that you are in a committed relationship;
- Avoid going alone to social events and business trips with coworkers;
- Avoid talking about your personal life at work.
However, there is no fool-proof way to avoid having an affair at work. Sometimes it’s premeditated, and sometimes it just happens. But suppose you feel an emotional connection to a colleague, other than platonic. In that case, you might want to consider letting the friendship cool off for a while and focus more on your relationship or marriage.
How do you tell if a coworker is in love with you?
Your coworker talks to you more than they do with others, brings you coffee, asks you about your day, or praises you in front of other colleagues. How to tell whether your coworker is simply being friendly or is interested in you romantically? Body language, touching you accidentally, or asking you out to lunch or coffee are some of the signs that indicate romantic interest.
That being said, it’s important to distinguish between flirtation and sexual harassment in the workplace. Flirting with a coworker or a superior can turn into an unpleasant affair, so it’s crucial to set boundaries.
Are office romances common?
In 2018, workplace romances hit the lowest point in 10 years, with 36% of employees saying they were dating a coworker. This is down from 40% in 2008. Even though they are on the decline, work romances are still pretty common.
Before We Part Ways
Most of the time, love just happens. There are no rules when it comes to love. But there are rules in the office.
Many of us will spend 2021 working from our homes, so you may think you’re safe, but you’re in more danger than ever. This means you will be alone and reach out to colleagues more. They share your burden, after all. And just think about all the places an innocent chat could end up in.
So, use these workplace affairs statistics wisely. Identify the pitfalls of work-related romances and try to avoid them.