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The Positive Side of Workplace Relationships

Analysis  |  By HR Daily Advisor  
   March 12, 2024

Workplace romance can have business benefits but there should be guidelines in place.

This article was first published on March 12, 2024, by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

In a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the conventional wisdom surrounding workplace romances is challenged, revealing that such relationships may have more benefits than previously thought. The research uncovers the benefits of workplace relationships, including enhanced motivation, a stronger sense of belonging, and a deeper commitment to the organization.

Workplace Romance Is Flourishing

According to SHRM’s findings, a significant majority of U.S. workers currently involved in workplace romances report positive impacts on their professional lives. An impressive 85% noted an improvement in their overall mood at work, while 83% experienced increased motivation and a sense of belonging. Furthermore, 81% felt a greater commitment to their organization, and 80% saw improvements in their work/life balance.

SHRM president and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., emphasizes the value of connections in the workplace, stating, “We know that our work affects our lives and our livelihoods, as this new research proves that workers are finding true connections in the workplace resulting in long-lasting relationships.” He also highlights the importance of having organizational guidelines and policies to safeguard employees against potential issues such as favoritism and sexual harassment.

Additional Insights

SHRM’s study also revealed some additional interesting insights:

  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of U.S. workers who have been in a workplace romance believe it was worth it.
  • About one-third of U.S. workers (34%) have a “work spouse,” with 43% harboring feelings toward them and 45% feeling the need to conceal this relationship from their significant other.
  • The majority (64%) of U.S. workers oppose policies prohibiting workplace romances, though 78% agree that guidelines are needed for managing such relationships.

The research also delves into the acceptability of workplace romances, finding varied opinions based on the level of interaction and hierarchy between the involved parties. While 58% approve of romances between peers who rarely work together, only 27% find them acceptable between individuals of different levels who frequently collaborate.

The dynamics of workplace romances are nuanced, but when managed properly, these relationships can contribute positively to both personal well-being and organizational success. That underscores the need for clear, supportive policies that recognize the potential benefits of workplace connections while protecting all employees’ interests.

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