Why is “Office romance” becoming more common?

Power and sex are two of mankind’s most powerful emotional social drivers and it is no wonder we ache to have both but when mixed together, the two prove to be a heady but delicious cocktail. Office romances are becoming more and more alluring and this is no surprise as a lot of hours are spent at work.  We spend more time with our colleagues and the line between office and leisure hours is slowly being blurred, and suddenly ‘just colleagues’ shifts to a new zone; ‘close friends.’

In many work places, colleagues eat their meals together and that leaves no time to meet someone special. It is little wonder then that we are turning to our colleagues and sometimes our superiors for emotional support, familiarity and warmth.

“I never thought that I could find love in the work place but the bug caught up with me. I work in a law firm and that means sometimes I end up leaving work so late and as you can imagine me and my boss got really close and a mutual attraction blossomed and before you know it, we were secretly seeing each other. I found out that we could connect on a work level and also openly talk about life situations. I just suddenly had this drive and was excited. I enjoyed going to work and looked forward to going to the firm but this was until I found out that I was not the only one who he had been seeing at work and that he was engaged to be married to his long time girlfriend,” says Tumo Nkapo.  She added that when their relationship ended, things got messy as her reputation as “miss perfect” had gone down the drain even though she was really good at what she does.

Another Keletso Matlapeng says that, “I don’t really see anything wrong with two grown ups making a decision to see each other at work. However, what bothers me is when the two parties now decide to bring their personal problems to the office. You will find that because they were arguing last night, they will make things awkward for everyone in the office. Sometimes the problem comes in when the one colleague is jealous. I was once confronted by the one colleague accusing me of being too nice to her boyfriend who happens to be both our boss. I was just in utter shock as this ruined our working relationship and friendship in the long run. I have nothing against office romance as long as the two people are grown enough to not let their relationship affect their work and make things uncomfortable for co-workers.”

Relationships at work can create hostility between groups especially in cases where there is favoritism as well as damage the employee’s reputation. On the one hand, Andrew and Nada Kakabadse who co-wrote, An international Survey of the Sex Lives of people at work suggests that office romances can be a positive thing as they can contribute to a happy work environment as well as increased motivation. According to the book, these relationships are very positive because they make people more committed to the employer.

In the modern work place your reputation is everything, so should you wish to explore an office romance, expects advice that you avoid dating anyone in your chain of command or anyone who reports to you, and if you are married, avoid any at all costs and keep your CV updated in case things go wrong and you need to find a new job.