Workers Show Declining Interest in Workplace Romance

Although many American workers will be searching for love this Valentine's Day, fewer will be looking for it in the workplace than in years past, according to the latest Spherion(R) Workplace Snapshot survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R). Just over one-third (36 percent) of U.S. workers would consider dating a co-worker if they were single, a number that has steadily declined from 42 percent in January 2005 and 39 percent in January 2006 and 2007. Female workers, in particular, are less likely to consider dating co-workers, with only 28 percent stating so, compared with 43 percent of men.

However, the fear that a workplace romance could jeopardize one's career appears to be eroding alongside interest in doing so, the study finds. Three in 10 of U.S. workers feel that openly dating a co-worker would jeopardize their job security or advancement opportunities, showing a steady decline from 41 percent in 2007.

"This year's survey results are quite intriguing given the decline in both the consideration of and the perceived jeopardy of workplace romances over the past four years," says John Heins, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Spherion. "We believe that an increasing number of employers have begun to acknowledge the potential for and existence of workplace dating and have put measures in place to properly manage these relationships. This includes training workers, providing guidelines, and written policies. As a result, workers view on-the-job dating as less damaging to their job security or career advancement as long as they follow the guidelines. When employers clearly communicate their policies and procedures and provide appropriate training, workers better understand what is expected and can make better decisions related to performance or conduct."

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