Office Romance is Alive and Well

February 10, 2011 ( – Common wisdom may hold that finding romance around the office water cooler is fraught with potential pitfalls, but that apparently hasn’t stopped many people from dating colleagues, a new study finds.

The latest CareerBuilder office romance poll found that 40% of workers have dated someone they’ve worked with while 18% confess they’ve done it twice and 30% went on to marry their workspace paramour. Of the office Lotharios, 10% have dated a colleague in the last 12 months.

The survey finds some workers are dating those above them on the office ladder. Women were more likely than men to date someone above them in their company’s hierarchy. One third of women said they have dated someone who holds a higher position in their organization, and 20% of men report they have done the same.

Eight percent of workers currently work with someone who they would like to date, with more men (11%) than women (4%) reporting they would like to do so. Twelve percent of workers reported that their relationships started when they ran into each other outside of work.

The CareerBuilder poll finds some other situations where Cupid’s arrow flew between co-workers include:

  • Happy hour
  • Lunch
  • Working late at the office
  • Company holiday party
  • Business trip

The survey also showed the repercussions of workplace romance, with 6% of workers saying they have left a job due to an office romance.

“Workplace relationships no longer carry the stigma they once did, as 65% of workers said they aren’t keeping their romance a secret. However, it is the responsibility of the individuals to understand company policy and make sure they adhere to it,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, in a news release. “Especially in this economy, workers are spending more time in the office and the lines between working and socializing are being crossed. Workers need to keep it professional under all circumstances, though, to ensure that the quality of their work is not negatively impacted.”

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,910 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between November 15 and December 2, 2010.