An average of two out of five workplace relationships lead to long term relationships, including marriage and civil partnerships, a new study suggests.
The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) surveyed 1,000 employees about their experiences and attitudes to romance in the workplace.
Thirty-seven per cent of those who said they had dated colleagues reported that the affair had turned into a long lasting relationship, and more than 25 per cent had gone to marry or enter a civil partnership with their partner.
A roughly equal percentage of such relationships – around one third – began in the office itself and at social events outside the workplace. The great majority – 70 per cent –of workplace relationships take place between similarly ranked colleagues.
More than 60 per cent of managers said they would not be concerned if they discovered that colleagues had become romantically involved, as long as this did not interfere with their work.
In spite of this apparent tolerance, 21 per cent said they thought colleagues would disapprove and 30 per cent actively kept the relationship a secret. A minority of those who had had workplace relationships in the past admitted the affair had might have had a negative affect on their work.
ILM chief executive Charles Elvin said:
“Employers may want to think twice before vetoing love at work, or they risk forcing staff to hide their relationships, creating a culture of secrecy and deceit.”
The ILM is the “UK’s largest management body”.
Photo of watercooler by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr