80% workers would keep office romances secret: poll

Taipei-While 70 percent of office workers expressed a positive view of office romances, nearly 80 percent would keep such relationships secret, a survey by the online job bank yes123 showed Sunday.

The declared reasons to not make such romances public include an unwillingness to become the target of workplace gossip and be considered unable to differentiate between corporate and private interests, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted between Aug. 10 and Aug. 24 among job bank members aged 20-40 ahead of Chinese Valentine's Day, also known as Chinese Double Seven Festival, which falls on Monday this year.

When asked their plans for the festival, 40.6 percent of respondents revealed they are unmarried and have no friends of the opposite sex, while 48.7 percent said they have no plans to do anything romantic on that day and will stay at home.

However, among single respondents, 10.5 percent plan to attend a singles' mixer, while 7.9 percent said they would confess their feelings to the object of their affections, according to the poll.

The poll showed that the main reasons cited by singles to explain their unattached status are a limited number of friends (70.2 percent), lack of confidence about their appearance (44.6 percent), dislike of going out (39 percent), long work hours and heavy workload (30.1 percent) and lack of income (26.2 percent).

According to the poll, 46.6 percent of respondents admitted to having an office romance, with 80 percent taking place between coworkers and 30.8 percent involving a superior-subordinate relationship. Meanwhile, the survey showed that 15.5 percent of office romances involved at least one person who was married at the time.

In general, 70.2 percent of respondents expressed support for office romance and 60.8 percent attributed workplace romance to "feelings growing over time," while 54.7 percent believed having an understanding of and being considerate about the work conditions of others contributes to the development of such relationships.

Other factors cited by respondents as facilitating the development of workplace romances include shared areas of interest (52.4 percent), admiring another's work ability (38.8 percent), while 28.9 percent thought workplace romances mainly stemmed from being too busy to develop relationships with people outside the office.

As to the benefits of romantic relationships in the workplace, 62.5 percent said they enable couples to spend more time together, while 58.7 percent cited helping each other at work and 57.6 percent thought office romances would make work commutes easier by carpooling.

However, several disadvantages of workplace romances were also cited by respondents, with 70.7 percent saying couples could easily become the target of gossip, while 66.6 percent complained such relationships could cause others to consider them unable to tell the difference between corporate and private interests and 48.3 percent said it was possible being in such close proximity every day would cause couples to grow bored of each other.

As such, although most office workers support workplace romances, only 20.4 percent would be willing to make them public, with nearly 80 percent preferring to keep them secret.

According to the poll, only 7.7 percent of companies polled have rules that ban office romances and while 32.5 percent of companies have no such regulations, they still tend to discourage employee romances. Meanwhile, 41.6 percent of corporations thought office romances would have a negative impact on the company operations.

The poll on office workers' plans for Chinese Valentine's Day and office romances collected 1,316 valid questionnaires from individuals and 938 from enterprises. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel