This is the second Valentine's Day since the #MeToo movement erupted in 2017, and these new survey results reveal that office romance is still alive and well. Despite organizational efforts to curb or discourage employees from engaging in workplace romance, these six stats highlight what most of us already knew—that there's no stopping coworkers from canoodling. Instead of trying to eliminate romance at work, the following should serve as a wake-up call to organizations that they need to step up and help employees deal with their attraction at work.
- More than half of employees have engaged in an office romance.
Workplace romance is not an issue that impacts just a handful of rogue employees. According to the survey, produced by job site Vault.com, 58% of employees have engaged in a romantic relationship with a colleague. A surprising 72% of those over 50 years old have been romantically involved with a coworker.
Why does attraction at work happen so frequently? Social psychologists have found that mere exposure to someone can increase our attraction to them. To illustrate how this works, college students participating in a study were shown photos of faces. Participants saw the photos of some faces up to 25 times, while other faces were only shown once or twice. The more the participants had seen a photo of a particular face, the more they reported liking it. In other words, mere exposure to the photograph increased attraction to it. In a similar study, participants had short, face-to-face contact with one another. Once again, more exposure led to more attraction. Individuals preferred those they had seen more often to those they had seen less frequently. Repeated exposure to the same coworkers day after day has a similar effect and will naturally fuel more attraction at work.