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Valentine's Day in the Office? Millennials More Likely to Have Workplace Relationships

Feb. 14, 2012 — While most employers may tend to be wary of office romance, 71% of employed Millennials (ages 18-29) see a workplace romance as having positive effects, such as improved performance and morale, according to poll results from American workers released from Workplace Options.

However, opinions about inter-office romances differ widely across generations. While 40% of Millennials report no negative effects whatsoever from an office romance, only 105 of older workers shared that sentiment, meaning the majority of employed Americans feel more harm could be done than good.

The results also found that:

  • 84% of Millennials say they would engage in romance with a co-worker compared to 36% of Generation X workers (ages 30-45), and just 29% of Baby Boomers (ages 46-65).
  • Overall, 47% of respondents reported that they had observed romantic relationships in the workplace.
  • 57% said that if they had a romantic relationship with a colleague, they would share information about it with others, either friends, co-workers or via social networks.

"One of the most interesting pieces of information that came from this survey was that 35% of workers said they didn't know if their company had policies governing romantic relationships in the workplace," said Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. "Human beings are going to interact and these relationships are going to happen, but it is essential that companies have clear policies in place that outline what is acceptable and what is not so that there are no perceptions of inequity, favoritism or an imbalance of power."

Poll results indicate that, as a group, Millennials are more open to dating their supervisors than all other age groups combined. 40% of Millennials said they would date their supervisor, compared to 12% of older respondents.

"Relationships between co-workers of similar stature are one thing, but relationships between supervisors and direct reports can be dangerous," Debnam said. "Regardless of the culture or industry of any given company, clear communication about personal relationships among co-workers is vital. Employees must be made aware of where the boundaries are so that things that occur on personal time don't become a distraction or a course of conflict in the workplace."

The national survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling between Jan. 13-16, 2012. The survey polled 556 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/-4.2%.

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