We tell ourselves that we are well aware of the dangers of office romances and the billion ways they can go wrong. What we don’t really acknowledge and haven’t really addressed, is that sex in the workplace happens and some of our co-workers (possibly more than we think) are closer than we would like to imagine.
According to PayScale’s Office Romance Report, five of the top 10 cities reporting the most inter-office flings are as follows:
1. Indianapolis, IN
2. Memphis, TN
3. Grand Rapids, WY
4. Bradenton, FL
5. Tulsa, OK
And five of the top 10 professions where a fling is most likely to occur are:
4. Stock Clerks
Regardless of whether your state or occupation is listed in the top 10, there are very few people who can say they have never been involved in an office romance, known someone close who has, worked with flinging co-workers, or at least considered it themselves. When you think about it, we spend more time in the office than we do with our families. Combine the availability factor with any number of personal issues – mid-life crises, financial problems, children, burn out, or just plain old hornballism, and the office can end up being a sexual sanctuary.
In most workplaces, this is fine as long as the employees remember to bring their passion and creativity to their jobs, while checking their extra curricular activities with Susan from HR, at the door. However, this isn’t always the case and with office romance comes a barrel of explosives that can be set off by any number of work related factors.
For example, what happens when one person wants to end the relationship with a person they have to continue to work with every day? If the account manager is married, do you notify the spouse or keep the fling as an office secret? Is it ethical to date a boss and if you are the boss, should you mess around with someone who works under you?
Although uncomfortable and embarrassing, these are issues that workplaces need to address and be ready for. Romance happens, and as a partner from a law firm relayed to Liz Ryan, Bloomberg Businessweek, “We picked up so much sexual activity on the cameras, after midnight, that it was a liability to have the videotape in our possession.” People are literally having sex in the workplace.
As Liz Ryan explains “I just wish we could expand the conversation to acknowledge that the two worlds we inhabit—the policy-and-rule-driven business world and the messy, sticky, and random human world—really aren’t as distant as we pretend they are.” The fact remains, that it’s happening, and unless everyone ends up living happily ever after, businesses and employers will need to figure out how to deal with it.
Considering a relationship with your co-worker but unsure? Check out this report on who’s least likely to allow an office romance.
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(Photo Credit: By rubenshito/sxc.hu)