Office romances can make work exciting, but remote working has made it extremely difficult to get close to co-workers.
How do we accidentally bump into a colleague without a water cooler, or offer to do a tea round on Zoom – especially if 10 other employees are participating in the call?
The office romance – is it a thing of the past?
It seems like ages ago that we were still able to move around freely without having to worry about a pandemic. While working from home can have its benefits, it also restricts the potential for office romances and how people meet at work.
It used to be easy to meet someone at the office. By working closely with a colleague, often for many years, you get to spend much of your day with them. Sometimes flirting can lead to full relationships and even marriages. However, some companies have strict guidelines when it comes to relationships in the office. Depending on your position, the potential conflict of interest, and the firm that you work for, you may have to report any romances you have in the office to the HR department. This is the case with the asset management firm BlackRock, which set up rules that required employees to disclose relationships.
“All personal relationships with other BlackRock employees or contingent workers, as well as personal relationships with employees of a service provider, vendor, or other third party (including a client), if the non-BlackRock employee is within a group that interacts with BlackRock.”
How have the pandemic and remote working affected the office romance?
While many people are now working from home, they still may meet their partners through work. The number of romances in the workplace has been low since the pandemic started, but some still flirt over Zoom or social media.
A survey by printing specialists instantprint showed that in the UK, no more than 10% of employees in offices said they had been engaging romantically with a colleague since the beginning of the lockdowns.
There also seems to be a generational shift in attitudes towards office romances. The study found that one group of people would prefer to ban romantic relationships in the office. Despite the pandemic, 71% of participants in the study aged 16-24 (Gen Z) were very vocal about being completely against workplace relationships.
How people are meeting a partner in 2021
Attempting to start a relationship with a colleague can be nerve-wracking since rejections can lead to uncomfortable and uneasy situations. instantprint discovered that many people are connecting with co-workers through social media instead of at the office. Here is a breakdown of the most popular channels through which romance between colleagues now blossoms:
Social media – 55%
Zoom – 23%
Skype – 13%
Google Hangouts – 6%
Microsoft Teams – 3%
Other ways that people connected outside of the office was by enjoying a virtual lunch together or exchanging emails. Some even sent a Valentine’s Day card or a gift.