This is the state of office romances

In light of the #MeToo movement and the possibility of a lonely Valentine’s Day looming in a little under a month, workers in the office aren’t shy about shacking up with one of their coworkers. While office romances are often looked down upon in the workplace, that’s not stopping workers from engaging in different types of romantic behaviors, from a casual hook-up to a budding, long-term relationship.

Judging past research on office romance culture, more than half of the workforce said they have engaged in an office romance in 2019, according to a study by jobs website Vault. The study, which interviewed more than 700 participants, found that about 42% of respondents said they were never involved in an office romance, but that doesn’t stop others. Whether it was the fear of getting caught or the potential of a break-up that could lead to a messy situation afterward, these were some of the trends of inter-office romance in 2019 that will likely be here in the new decade.

The most common type of office romance is…

In a not-so-surprising reveal, the random hookup was the most common type of inter-office romance in 2019. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they engaged in a one-time thing, where trends normally point toward office parties like an annual holiday party as being the main culprit.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said they were looking for something more serious, opting for a long-term relationship with someone they work with. For 18% of workers, those long-term relationships went to the next level where it evolved into marriage.

As for how office romances happen, it most commonly starts when someone works in the same department was their partner (26%) or by attending happy hours or holiday parties (17%).

Can you keep a secret?

Nearly half of employers said they’d prefer if their staff not to date, according to a study by Reboot Online Marketing. Part of that reasoning for the war against office dating is because of the turmoil it can cause if the relationship goes wrong like decreased production or distractions caused by gossip around the office.

In order to avoid the talk around the water cooler, 64% of respondents who participated in an office romance said they kept their relationship mostly a secret. Thirty-eight percent said they never told anyone about it and 26% said they told a select few.

For three-quarters of respondents, they believe their office romance didn’t affect anyone else because if no one knew about it, it wasn’t their business.

Despite workers’ best efforts to keep their romances to themselves, others found out. Forty-four percent of respondents knew if their coworkers were involved in an affair with another worker. With nearly one in five people admitting they had an affair with a coworker, nearly a quarter (23%) said it ruined one of their committed relationships.

If workers do decide to hide their romance, they are at least being smart about it. With technology making it easier to hide things like not broadcasting your relationship on Facebook, most workers stick to keeping their romances to in-person interactions, while 31% risked the waters by texting.