We make friends, make enemies, and make love. In the workplace and beyond.
Setting crystal-clear boundaries between professional and private life may sound reasonable. Still, in practice, it fails. Numbers speak for themselves, just have a look:
- A 2022 SHRM study showed that workplace romance is on the rise.
- A 2022 Gallup research unveiled that globally, 3 in 10 employees claimed they had a best friend at work.
- A 2018 Total Jobs survey revealed that 6 in 10 respondents had a work enemy.
Emotions have their own rules. And human beings won’t stop feeling, even when they try to hide behind professional faces.
LiveCareer has recently conducted a study on workplace relationships. Scroll on to find out what the research uncovered.
The Positives and Negatives of Workplace Relationships
Friends, a chosen family. But does it also apply to people met at work? Let’s find out.
A full 94% of respondents admitted they had made close friends with someone they worked with. Also, 41% believed workplace friendships were equally lasting as friendships outside of work. After all, work consumes one-third of one’s life so we often spend more time with our colleagues than with our own family.
When asked about the pros of workplace friendships, research participants mentioned:
- increased job satisfaction – 83%
- improved workplace communication – 83%
- higher sense of trust in the workplace – 81%
- greater productivity – 81%
- enhanced collaboration – 81%
On the other hand, close bonds with your colleagues may also have some downsides. According to participants, the cons of having friends at work were as follows:
- difficulty in maintaining a work-life balance – 79%
- less constructive feedback between colleagues – 77%
- difficulty in protecting your privacy – 75%
- distractions impacting productivity – 74%
Some more noteworthy study findings:
- Respondents viewed workplace gossip (32%), competition (26%), and lack of trust (24%) as factors most likely to put an end to workplace friendships.
- Almost 9 in 10 (88%) participants claimed they socialized with their colleagues outside of work.
- 87% of the surveyed declared that it was likely or very likely that they’d keep in touch with their current colleagues if they changed their job.
We’re humans. And no analysis of the positives and negatives can discourage us from making workplace friendships.
Office Romance in Numbers
Time to focus on office romance now.
- 75% of research participants declared they had a romantic relationship with someone from their work.
- 70% had flirted with a colleague.
- 59% had had sex with a colleague.
- 67% knew someone who had cheated on a partner with a colleague.
- 73% knew someone who had met their spouse in the workplace.
Well, we can’t choose where we love, can we? The workplace is not an exception.
The big question is how other workers feel about our romantic relationship. Are they happy for you? Let’s find out.
Opinions on Romantic Relationships at Work
Here’s the good news for all romantically involved with someone at work. Most respondents had no problem with office romances.
- 76% of participants claimed they were comfortable with their colleagues being romantically involved.
- Most respondents believed there was nothing wrong with dating your colleagues (76%) or your manager (75%).
Still, love can have a bittersweet taste sometimes. To your coworkers, at least.
And there’s always some controversy around workplace romance. Just have a look.
- 75% of survey takers claimed that workplace romance might lead to favoritism.
- 74% believed being romantically involved with someone at work could cause productivity loss.
- 73% viewed romantic relationships in the workplace as unprofessional.
What’s more, as many as 8 in 10 respondents declared they’d consider changing a job if they started a romantic relationship with someone they work with.
The only thing to end workplace gossip without ending the relationship is to keep it professional. Always.
Friends, Foes, and Frenemies
In the workplace, you can meet a true love or friend.
There are also enemies and, even worse, frenemies. In that case, you never really know if someone is a friend or foe. Let’s dig deeper.
When asked about the consequences of having a work enemy, respondents mentioned:
- stress – 81%
- decreased overall job satisfaction – 77%
- decreased productivity – 75%
- negative influence on your personal life – 74%
Some other study findings to note:
- As many as 78% of research participants declared they’d consider changing a job if they had a work enemy.
- 79% claimed that at work, everyone thought mainly of themselves.
- 77% believed that people from the workplace often only pretended to be friends.
- 72% were convinced that at work, no one could be trusted.
As you can see, the matter of bonding with colleagues is not all black and white.
On the one hand, the workplace can be a treasure chest of valuable people and precious relationships, lasting a lifetime. On the other, you may also find a wolf in sheep’s clothing there.
Follow your heart, but take your brain with you. The key is to strike a balance between going too emotional and too skeptical about relationships with your colleagues.