How will the hybrid work trend affect office romances?
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One of the casualties of the hybrid work revolution could be good ol ‘office romance.
Some people might not mourn her passing, while for others it will be a devastating loss considering how many people meet their partner at work. A survey by UK online booking platform VenueScanner says 22% of workers have met their partner this way and 78% have built lasting personal relationships while in the office.
And the Society for Human Resource Management, based in Alexandria, Va., Is so concerned about the future of office romances and the impact on the workplace that they commissioned their own research. His study in February 2021 found that 50% of American workers have had a crush on a coworker and 34% have been involved or are involved in a romance at work. Almost 70% of American workers who are or have been in a working relationship dated their peers, 21% with their subordinates and 18% with their superiors.
Almost a quarter of American workers have had someone they consider to be their “working spouse,” and 45% have had romantic feelings towards that person.
So what do the numbers tell us about the future of romance at work?
SHRM HR Knowledge Advisor Yvette Lee said romance tends to flourish in the office environment because people feel comfortable with their co-workers and get to know them so good.
“Often, employees spend thousands of hours at work and this can help develop personal relationships,” she said. “Is it possible to generate the same favorites in a virtual world? Well, the rise of social media and online dating apps means that many people are more used to finding love virtually.
But what about the business impact of office romances in a hybrid world? Challenges can arise if there are arguments that impact productivity, or if people are distracted by office gossip. Lee said HR teams should develop a workplace romance policy or update existing guidelines.
One of the positive aspects of romance at work is that it can increase an employee’s confidence. Workplace wellness expert and psychotherapist Sophie Scott said flirting and engaging in conversations gives people a boost. “Most of us recognize the dizzying state we experience when we examine someone in our environment, whether platonic or not,” she said.
Meanwhile, relationship expert and founder of online couples therapy program The Relationship Paradigm, Neil Wilkie, said employees will just have to put in more effort to find love at work. “The pool will be smaller and the opportunities for these accidental life-changing conversations will be less,” he said.
Her advice is to try and sync your presence with people you love so that there is more chance of having that accidental and interesting conversation.
“If not, identify and track down prospects that might interest you. Find out what you can about your shortlist on LinkedIn or social media. Then create your campaign to get that “accidental” moment out of the sliding door. “
Taking it up a notch, Katie Lasson, clinical sex therapist at online sex toys website Peaches and Screams, said employees can always find partners in a world of Teams and Zoom.
“Virtual meetings are a good way to start to understand someone’s personality,” she said. “If you’re on a Teams work call, you can still feel the chemistry. The next step is to log in through Messenger or WhatsApp and start a conversation. It could be about how you liked their ideas or their approach to the topic being discussed.
Lasson added that people shouldn’t be afraid to have what she calls an open-minded online office adventure.
“It’s always easier to start communicating from a distance so that you don’t have those awkward moments of silence that might make you uncomfortable,” she said. “In my experience, couples share more intimate topics and talk about their preferences online. When meeting your office teams, you can exchange naughty messages personally. Additionally, with online sex people share fantasies that in real life they might be too shy to do so. ”
Who Said Romance Is Dead?
3 questions with Vicki Huff Eckert, founder of the US organization and PwC Global New Ventures
What is the level of support for immunization mandates?
When you look at vaccine mandates, you see a reality that emerges from the research we published last month. We found that two-thirds of executives questioned, as well as two-thirds of employees, are in favor of a vaccination mandate as a condition of returning to the office. It comes down to the confidence these people get from knowing they are returning to work environments where they knew everyone would be vaccinated. However, immunization mandates are just the beginning. If anything, they’re the first step when it comes to how businesses get workers back to the office, but that won’t solve everything. Not when there are children who have not been vaccinated and the reality is the Delta variant. That’s why more and more companies are taking more time to define what hybrid work means and the operating model they need to put in place to support this transition.
How does the prospect of an even longer period of remote work change the way companies view recruiting?
The ability to attract talent is essential for many companies today. Of course, there is high turnover in industries like tech, but at the same time, there is a lot of capital around public markets as well as around companies with big valuations looking to grow down the path to the future. success – increasing membership is one way to achieve this. To do this, companies are wondering how remote work opens up operating models to be able to recruit new talents in different markets. I see it through the work I currently do with a lot of companies in Silicon Valley. The interest is there because companies see high-value talent in the resumes they receive and realize that these are not the type of candidates that would normally be vying for positions. It changes the operating model and is a necessity.
Beyond flexibility, what other methods do companies use to recruit top talent?
When we have deepened the dynamics around recruitment, there is still work to be done on the aspects of flexibility and remuneration. Fairness has become an important factor in recruiting in part because of the state of the stock markets. We’re also finding that people are looking for a longer commitment to flexibility. This doesn’t mean that all of these candidates want to work from home forever, but they do want clarification on what flexibility means for potential employers in the future. The other point that emerges from the data is that people want to connect with their managers more frequently as part of a larger focus on employee engagement. It’s easier to do in an office where tech companies, for example, may have a ping-pong table, slide, or even free food. These benefits disappear if you work from home, so it becomes difficult for businesses to translate these benefits. That said, we hear more and more companies talking about making it a priority for the future. – Seb Joseph.
By the numbers
- Based on an internal survey of 2,500 employees, 81% of Microsoft executives have or plan to offer employees greater flexibility, reflecting what employees want – 87% prefer to stay away at least half the time.
[Source of data: Microsoft Work Trend Index.]
- 61% in 1,000 of 2021 college graduates in the US believe the pandemic and campus closures / e-learning has negatively impacted their career development / maturation.
[Source of data: Breeze’s employment survey.]
- 70% of UK businesses have fallen victim to a successful network security attack over the past year, according to a survey of 750 IT decision makers in industries such as construction, energy, retail, media and financial services.
[Source of data: Barracuda Networks’ ‘The state of network security in 2021 report.]
What else we have covered
- As the pandemic continues, some companies are filling the gaps in virtual communication tools like Zoom by co-working in the metaverse. As Digiday’s games and esports reporter Alexander Lee reported, most metaverse platforms, such as Roblox and Minecraft, are designed primarily for fun, not work. But many builders of these virtual spaces have organically realized their potential for meeting or coworking.
- While the Delta variant continues to cause a lot of uncertainty about when and how to return to work in the office, many fashion brands, according to Glossy fashion journalist Danny Parisi, are extending their remote work setup to at least. until the end of the year. . Others plan to allow their employees to work from home on a permanent basis.
This email briefing is edited by Jessica Davies, Editor-in-Chief, Future of Work.