In 1990 about 20% of couples met at work, but by 2020 that number was down to 10%. The shift toward online dating has certainly had a big impact on the way people meet.
Online dating aside, remote work is still a place where people are beginning romantic relationships. Unfortunately, it’s also a place where sexual harassment still occurs.
In February, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,250 Americans who have worked remotely for at least 6 months in the past 3 years.
We found one-third have started a romantic relationship with someone they met working remotely.
However, we also found that one in six remote workers have been sexually harassed. It’s clear when interviewing for a job, even if it will be a remote position, it’s critical, to the best of your ability, to evaluate the company culture. Companies should be actively working to create a culture that helps prevents sexual harassment in their workplace.
- 33% of remote workers started an office romance
- 23% started a relationship with a coworker
- Nearly half of romantic relationships among coworkers occurred between managers and direct reports
- 71% didn’t disclose relationship to HR
- 22% of women have been sexually harassed in a remote working environment
- Half of sexual harassment victims quit
23% started a romantic relationship with a coworker
Overall, 33% of workers say they’ve started a romantic relationship with someone they met remotely.
In a remote work environment, 23% of respondents say they’ve started a relationship with a coworker. Additionally, 12% say they began a romantic relationship with a client, 9% with a supplier, and 7% with an investor (note: respondents could select multiple answers).
Men are more likely to say they started a relationship at work than women (41% vs. 25%).
Further, those in leadership positions (business owners, c-level executives, and directors), were more likely to say they’ve started romantic relationships than other employees (40% vs. 30%).
According to Chief Career Advisor Stacie Haller, “Those in leadership positions often feel freer to engage in romantic relationships. The reason being, they have more control over their position within the organization opposed to lower level employees who could suffer repercussions.”
Overall, more than two-thirds of respondents (67%) who started relationships say they fell in love.
Nearly half of coworker relationships were between managers and direct reports
Of those that started relationships with coworkers, most have only dated one coworker. However, 28% say they’ve had relationships with 2 coworkers, 11% with 3 coworkers, and 10% with 4 or more coworkers.
Additionally, 45% say their relationship was with a direct report, while 47% say it was with someone they directly reported to.
7 in 10 did not disclose relationships to HR
When asked if they disclosed their relationship(s) to HR, 29% say they did every time. However, 32% say they only did some of the time, while 41% never did.
The top reason why workers did not always choose to tell HR about the relationship was that they didn’t feel they had to (50%). Also, 33% say they didn’t want to, while 42% feared termination.
Currently, 56% say they are in a romantic relationship with someone they met in a remote work environment.
The majority of these relationships are relatively new, and just got started within the past year.
Chris Wainwright from Humi, an HR Platform, notes, “If you’re considering starting a romance with someone in your remote office, there are a few things to keep in mind.”
“First, be sure to communicate your intentions and boundaries with your partner from the start. It’s also important to be aware of the potential power dynamics at play, and to make sure that you’re both on equal footing. Finally, remember that it’s important to respect each other’s space and privacy, especially when you’re not in the same physical location. If you can keep these things in mind, a remote office romance can be a great way to add some excitement to your work life.”
Unwelcome attention still a major problem in remote work
1 in 5 women have been sexually harassed
Overall, 17% of respondents say they have personally experienced sexually harassment as a remote worker, and women were twice as likely to say they’ve experienced sexual harassment (22% vs 11%)
Of those who’ve been sexually harassed, the plurality (50%) say they were harassed by a coworker. Additionally, 25% have experienced sexual harassment from a client, 8% a supplier, and 7% an investor.
Of those who experienced sexual harassment from a co-worker, 43% say it was from a direct manager. Additionally, 22% say it came from someone in a leadership position, while 17% say from a direct report.
According to Haller, “Unfortunately, working remotely may give bad actors more opportunities or confidence to sexually harass other employees.
“Organizations need to be aware of this risk in the new workplace environment,” she continues.
35% were sexually harassed on Zoom
Among men and women, the plurality (54%) say sexual harassment occurred during an in-person event, while 42% say it happened via phone (texts/calls), and 35% on video chat.
Just over half of respondents (55%) say they reported the incident(s) to HR.
Additionally, 49% of victims say they left a remote position due to sexual harassment.
All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish on Feb 2, 2023. In total, 1,250 Americans were surveyed. The survey using a convenience sampling method. Appropriate respondents were found through a screening question.
Pollfish uses Random Device Engagement (RDE), a method which is random and organic.
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