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Surge in workplace romance sees rise in employee dating policies

The research also revealed that almost half (48 per cent) of UK workers admit they have previously dated a work colleague, with over a quarter (27 per cent) saying this has turned into a long term relationship or marriage. 

The research uncovered the reasons why dating policies are considered necessary to put into place. Of those that have dated a colleague, one in five (17 per cent) found that this created tension with other co-workers and a third of employers (33 per cent) said that office romances caused disruption within their organisation. 

Furthermore, one in three workers (31 per cent) admitted that involvement with a colleague made them become awkward or shy in the office as they tried to hide the fact that they were dating – however, 61 per cent of co-workers and 46 per cent of employers say they have discovered colleagues secretly dating, so they may not be hiding it as well as they think.

Of those employers that do have dating polices in place, almost half (49 per cent) think these are overlooked by staff, and in line with this, 42 per cent of employees don’t know if their company has a policy or what it consists of.

Yet the research revealed that being aware of a policy does cause some people to act differently. One in ten have gone so far as to stop themselves from dating someone because of company policy. 

However it’s not all doom and gloom for those in budding office romances - 65 per cent of employers say they would be happy for colleagues to date, as long as they were aware of the policy in place and act accordingly. 

A dating policy ensures that employees embarking on a relationship with a colleague understand what the company expects from them and these will differ between organisations whether it requires the couple to speak to the relevant managers to make them aware of the situation, or being aware that discussing confidential work information is not tolerated. 

Andy Sumner, managing director of Monster.co.uk, UK and Ireland, commented, “As more employees start dating there is an increase in companies taking action to put policies in place to address what is and isn’t permitted in the workplace. Honesty and transparency are key here and it’s important for employees to take notice of and fully understand what is built into their contracts regarding this sensitive topic. However if you do find yourself falling for a work colleague and your company policy makes things awkward, don’t panic, there are plenty of other jobs out there!”

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