While dating your coworker might not be a good idea under the best of circumstances, we still do it. After all, you can’t help who you’re attracted to, and if there’s no serious conflict of interest, the worst that usually happens is the whole thing falls apart eventually and things get a little awkward. It’s never been enough to put people off, but something has caused a nosedive in workplace romances in recent months, and what it is might surprise you.
According to research performed by the insurance company Direct Line in the UK, the #MeToo movement has changed our perspectives on interpersonal relationships at work. In fact, 80% of HR professionals they spoke to said they believed office romances were less acceptable than they used to be and one in 20 companies banned such relationships outright.
Of course, nearly half of participants admitted that they’d been involved with a colleague before, and roughly 75% of them never reported it to HR/their boss. Then again, why would they? Unless you’re dating someone above or below you, it’s not really anyone else’s business, right?
Incidentally, DirectLine’s survey revealed that 78% of companies were reviewing their policies on office relationships in the wake of #MeToo, though only 32% of companies actually changed anything.
As DirectLine’s Jane Morgan explained, “Current movements prompting discussions about professional relationships and conduct are long overdue and very welcome. With this in mind it’s important that if you’re embarking on a new romantic relationship at work you double check your company’s policy, as even if you ‘think it’s ok’ your company’s policy may have recently been updated.”
Frankly, it’s probably best if you cast your dating net a little wider than your office. While it’s not the end of the world, no one wants to have to work a few desks down from their ex every day. It’s just not worth it.