Those people looking for love on February 14 may have as good as chance as any to find a soul mate in their workplace, according to the annual CareerBuilder Valentine’s Day Survey of more than 4,000 workers nationwide.
The CareerBuilder survey conducted online by Harris Interactive between November 1 and November 30, 2012 found that 30 percent of workers – three in ten – who have dated a co-worker said their workplace romance led to marriage.
Overall, nearly four out of ten workers – 39 percent – said they had dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career while 17 percent reported dating co-workers at least twice.
The survey also found that 29 percent of workers who dated a co-worker said they have dated someone higher up in their organization while 16 percent dated their boss. Women were more likely to date someone above them in the company hierarchy, 38 percent as compared to 21 percent of men.
As for where these workplace romances began, the most popular situations for co-workers to first connect with each other on a more romantic level were running into each other outside of work, happy hours, late nights at work, and during lunch.
The survey also revealed that the top five industries most conducive to workplace romances were Leisure and Hospitality, Information Technology, Financial Services, Health Care, and Professional and Business Services.
In addition, while the majority of workers involved with workplace romances said they were open about their dating situation at work, more than one in three workers – 35 percent – said they had to keep the relationship a secret.
But surveys and statistics do not tell the entire story about workplace romances. Some real life examples also help explain what happens when co-workers date and marry.
Diane Tapscott, Director of Global Marketing at Glam Media, an online lifestyle media company headquartered in San Francisco, California, has first-hand experience with married couples working together. She and her husband, Ernie Cicogna, the company’s Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, have been together as a couple for nearly 15 years and Glam Media is the second company they have worked at together.
Diane offered to share tips and tricks from first-hand experience for couples who work together, or for those thinking of embarking on a workplace romance:
- Can romance be difficult for couples who work at the same company and spend time together 24-7?
It can be difficult at times. Couples working together need to separate time at work and time at home to avoid having work talk dominate the relationship. But there are also a lot of upsides to working together. It makes it easier to plan dinner and communicate about when the other will be heading home. It’s also great commuting together and at times eating lunch with one another. In today’s fast paced world, getting those extra minutes together can be difficult. Another romantic plus of working together is subtle flirting. For instance catching a glance at one another while the other is clearly in conference with someone else is like a little love poke. Of course, you have to be aware not to distract the other when inappropriate.
- When couples work together, should they limit talking about their jobs at home and about home at work?
We limit talking about work at home as much as possible and vice versa. If he has a call he needs to take from home, one of us will go to another room. It helps keep the two parts of our lives separate. That said, any issues about kids take precedence over work; if we need to talk at work about home we go to a conference room.
- When couples work for the same company, is there even any competition over salaries, titles, etc. or do they always work for the same team?
For us, it’s always been that we work for the same team. Neither one of us are competitive that way.
- Should a company have a policy regarding appropriate behavior for workplace dating? If so, what should it be?
It really depends on the personality of the company. Some companies have a start-up mentality where rules don’t fit the culture. For people considering embarking on a workplace romance, I’d advise them to take into consideration the office culture. You should try to understand who the company is and how management will react to the news of a workplace romance. When dating a coworker, people should also talk through how serious they are about each other before announcing the relationship in the office. And be aware of what working together would be like if the relationship fails.
- What should couples working together do for Valentine’s Day?
My husband always gets me red roses, but he brings them to me at home, never at work. This goes back to keeping private lives separate from work, which can be difficult at Valentine’s Day but has proven to be a good policy. This year he's in Australia and I will be on a plane to New York. He's already making plans for a romantic dinner when we are both home. I suspect there are some roses in my future as well.
The CareerBuilder Valentine’s Day Survey was conducted among 4,216 full-time employed U.S. workers. CareerBuilder.com is the largest online career site in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs, and 50 million resumes. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.