Rewards outweigh the risks for Gen Y's looking for love at the office
Known for demanding a more flexible workplace and remote work access, Generation Y is changing the way we think about another controversial workplace policy: romance in the office.
If he doesn’t already, Cupid and his arrows may soon occupy a desk in your office. According to a Public Policy Polling survey released in January 2012, 84% of Gen Y employees (aged 18 – 29) said they would enter into a romantic relationship with a coworker. Only 36% of Gen X workers (aged 30 – 45) agreed. When asked if they would enter into a relationship with their supervisor, 40% of Gen Y answered positively. Only 12% or less of the older generations agreed.
Not only did most Gen Y respondents say that they would enter into a romantic relationship with their co-worker, 40% of believe that "improved performance and morale," is the most significant positive result of an office romance. Only 9% of 30 to 45-year-old employees and 5% of 45 to 65-year-old employees agreed (most respondents outside the Gen Y age group said there were "no positive effects," of an office romance).
In regards to workplace policies, the majority (75%) of Gen Y respondents said that their workplace did not have rules about relationships in the workplace. Interestingly, only 40% of Gen X employees and 41% of Boomers said that their workplace didn’t have rules about relationships in the office thereby raising the question: does Gen Y ignore workplace dating etiquette or are older generations hung up on office romance rules that have become extinct?
Once reserved for suits and skirts, the office has become a much more relaxed atmosphere for many employees, especially those working at younger, tech-oriented, Gen Y staffed companies where keeping one’s social and personal life separate can be nearly impossible. Approached with less taboo in a relaxed environment, for many Gen Y employees, office love can live and die without too much drama or career disruption.
On the other hand, Gen X and Boomers will argue (perhaps from experience) that working alongside a love interest can be distracting and detrimental for one’s career. As a member of Gen Y myself, I’m not afraid to admit that they’re probably correct in many cases. As relaxed and socially connected as some workplaces can be, Cupid’s cute outfit and arrows may still be a little bit too risqué.
Are Gen Y attitudes towards workplace romance too relaxed? Have you ever had an office romance? Please share your comments with us.
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