There’s no denying that office romances certainly split the crowds when it comes to who’s for them and who’s against. There’s a lot to consider when sparking up an office relationship, as it affects far more than just the two individuals involved. Careers can be put at risk, not to mention it can create uncomfortable or hostile environments for the rest of your fellow co-workers if it ends in tears. In fact, 43% of Brits agree that office breakups create an unpleasant atmosphere for everyone else to endure afterwards.
In a recent survey from leading sign printing specialist instantprint, it was discovered that over half (56%) of office workers would like to see restrictions on workplace relationships, with a massive 71% of office workers in Generation Z (aged 16–24) completely disapproving of them.
But why has there been such a plummet in workplace romances lately? We decided to investigate the reasons further…
It probably goes without saying but you can’t have a steamy office romance when you’re not legally allowed in the office anymore! The pandemic is most definitely up there with one of the main reasons for a decrease in workplace relationships. Everything which makes an office fling exciting suddenly isn’t possible when you’re remote working from separate homes. Spending large amounts of time together on a daily basis brings people closer together and, unfortunately, this just hasn’t been possible while everyone has been stuck working from home throughout lockdown.
The #MeToo Movement
As many of you will already be well aware, the #MeToo movement focuses on the experiences of sexual violence survivors which shone a stark spotlight on just how common sexual harassment is and how it impacts people’s lives daily. A lot of businesses were shocked and overwhelmed by the number of sexual harassment cases that have reportedly happened within a workplace. This led to a rapid decline in the number of office romances, due to employees erring on the side of caution.
Alongside remote working, the pandemic, in general, has played a huge role in the decrease of workplace romances. This is largely due to risks that the coronavirus has brought us, transforming the way we approach romantic interactions. According to the Association for Psychological Science, “[h]uman behaviour is one of the most important factors dictating the severity of pandemics for both the spread of the disease and the psychological impacts it triggers, such as anxiety, isolation, and uncertainty.” If workers are struggling with the effects of pandemic-related stress, they are less likely to engage in an office relationship due to fears of potentially catching and spreading the virus further.