Much like the sizzling temperatures of the season, office romance is heating up Canadian workplaces. According to the results of Randstad's latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 32 countries around the world, the majority of Canadian employees support the idea of an office romance.
In Canada, seven out of ten employees (59%) indicate a romantic relationship between colleagues occurs from time to time within their organization. Two thirds (66%) believe this need not be problematic.
Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Randstad Canada says, like it or not, office romances happen. “People spend a significant amount of time in the office and it is often a place where people feel a sense of community. The company is likely filled with people who share the same values, principles, work ethic, skills, and education. So it’s not that surprising that romances tend to spark between employees,” she says.
The results are similar around the world. On average 57 per cent of global respondents indicate romantic relationships occur in the workplace from time to time. The data indicates this happens more often in China, India and Malaysia (all around 70%). In Japan (33%) and Luxembourg (36%) however, romantic relationships in the workplace are reportedly less common.
Parker recognizes that there are risks that are associated with office romance. “Many employers frown on office relationships for good reason. It can disrupt productivity not only for those in the relationship, but those who work with the couple. It can also hurt morale if favoritism between the couple is perceived, or if the relationship ends very badly,” she says.
In Canada, however, only 37 per cent believe a romantic relationship with a colleague interferes with their performance at work. On a global average, 40 per cent of employees share that view. The concern is much higher for employees in India (63%) and Luxembourg (65%) when it comes to the belief that romantic relationships interfere with work performance.
Globally, 72 per cent of respondents believe romantic relationships in the workplace do not need to be problematic. Scores are especially high in Spain, Mexico and Hong Kong (around 81%). While in Luxembourg, romantic relationships in the workplace are not favoured (42%).
The results also found that when a romantic relationship does occur, up to (44%) of global respondents believe one of the two must be transferred to another department. Canadian employees hold a similar stance as 42 per cent believe that in the event of a romantic relationship at work, one of the two must be transferred to another department.
The consensus is however, is that resignation is a step too far when it comes to office romance. Globally, only 24 per cent feel that one of the two should resign from their job when romantically involved. While in Canada, 21 per cent believe that one of the two should resign in the event of a romantic relationship at work. This score is even lower in Hungary, Sweden and the Netherlands (around 11%).
Parker advises, before getting involved in a romantic relationship with a colleague, to find out if your company has any regulations on office dating. “Many companies are open to the idea but your company could have a no office romance policy. If you don’t have an office policy against it and you do decide to go ahead and date your co-worker, keep it out of the office. This means no public displays of affection – keep it as professional and low key as possible. It’s also a good idea to never date someone you supervise or who supervises you,” she says.
“An office romance can be a very rewarding relationship as long as you go into it with the right mindset and the best intentions. Set clear expectations early for the sake of your work environment and your career in case it doesn’t work out,” says Parker. “Always keep in mind that how you conduct your relationship and how you end it will speak to your professionalism and your reputation.”