Love is in the air at work

But 22 per cent of workplaces oppose office romance

This year, many Canadians won’t have to look further than the next cubicle over to find their Valentine.

According to Workopolis’ Valentine’s Day survey of 614 working Canadians, 15 per cent said they met their current partner at work.

“Many Canadians are putting in longer days than ever before, working on weekends and travelling for work,” said Patrick Sullivan, president of online job board Workopolis.

“With little time or opportunity left for dating, it’s not surprising that an office romance may blossom between colleagues. If you’re working closely together and you share common non-work interests, cupid just may strike at your place of work.”

While 18 per cent of working Canadians have been in a relationship with a colleague, 22 per cent of workplaces have a policy against dating a co-worker and 45 per cent of workers who have dated a colleague have felt the need to keep it a secret.

While Quebecers (23 per cent) are the most likely to date a co-worker, workers in British Columbia (38 per cent) are the most flirtatious.

Workers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the least likely to be involved in an office romance, at only 18 per cent.

One-third (35 per cent) of Canadian employees oppose the romance rules put in place by their workplaces, with Atlantic Canadians (46 per cent) being the most opposed and B.C. workers (28 per cent) being the least opposed.

Younger workers, aged 18 to 24, are the most supportive of workplace romance, with 59 per cent of them open to a fling at work. Workers aged 35 to 44 are the least likely to date a co-worker with only on-quarter of them saying they would give it a shot.

“Even if your employer supports a relationship between colleagues, public displays of affection don’t belong in the work environment and in fact, make everyone involved feel uncomfortable,” said Sullivan.

“Keep your mind focused on work during the day - even on Valentine’s Day.”

Office romance 101

When it comes to office romances, remember a few simple guidelines to ensure your work life is just as strong as your love life:

Familiarize yourself with office policies: Many employers have set guidelines about workplace romances. Before you become involved with a colleague, be aware of the official and non-official rules.

Be honest: If you are in a relationship with a co-worker, be upfront and honest with your colleagues and your managers.

Keep it lateral:Office romances can be complicated enough. If you are considering a workplace relationship, you’re better off to date someone at your level and not your boss or manager.

Minimize the PDAs: Don’t let your relationship distract you from your-day-to-day responsibilities at work. Keep the public displays of affection to a minimum when you’re in the workplace environment, even if your relationship is out in the open.

Look for love outside your day-to-day office group: If there is a break up, it will be less likely to interfere with your work.

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