Many companies have implemented return to office (RTO) policies over the past few years. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we wanted to find out if RTO has led coworkers to connect on a romantic level.

In February, surveyed 1,448 workers aged 18 to 44 at companies that have implemented an RTO policy and require workers in the office at least once a week.

Key findings:

  • 29% of workers have had romantic relationships since returning to the office
  • Nearly half say they had a romantic relationship with a superior; 46% say with a subordinate
  • 58% of employees currently in relationships with coworkers have not disclosed it to HR
  • Two-thirds of employees who’ve had relationships say it had a positive impact on their work
  • 3 in 10 say the relationship helped them get a raise or promotion

29% of Workers Have Had a Romantic Relationship With a Coworker Since Return to Office

Since returning to the office, 29% of workers say they have started a romantic relationship with a coworker, and 25% say they developed a crush on a coworker, but it never led to a romantic interaction. Less than half (47%) say they neither started a romantic relationship nor developed a crush.

Of those who started a romantic relationship, 46% say they did so with one coworker, while 41% say with two coworkers, and 14% say with three or more.

More than half (55%) say at least one relationship involved a superior, while 47% say one of their relationships involved a subordinate.

9 in 10 Who Started an Office Relationship Are Currently Romantically Involved With a Coworker

Of workers who say they’ve had a relationship with a coworker since returning to the office, 94% say they are currently romantically involved with a coworker. However, only 58% say they have disclosed the relationship to HR.

The nature of these relationships vary from:

  • Dating (38%)
  • Serious relationship (28%)
  • Marriage (17%)
  • Very casual (9%)
  • Engaged (7%)

“While in-office romance has always been around, it’s important to understand the implications of these relationships,” says Resume Builder’s Resume and Career Strategist Julia Toothacre. “There is a power dynamic when it’s a boss/subordinate relationship, which can lead to things like favoritism or getting let go if the relationship ends.”

“I encourage people to check their employee handbook for policies around dating co-workers. Some places don’t allow it, and others require you to acknowledge the relationship.”

Two-Thirds Say Romantic Relationship Had a Positive Impact on Their Work

Two-thirds (66%) of employees who have had a relationship with a coworker since RTO say their romantic relationship has or had a positive impact on their work, while 6% say it has or had a negative impact, and 28% say no impact.

Those who say there is or was a positive impact attribute this to being more excited to go to work (82%), improving mental health (66%), or the relationship helping them get a raise or promotion (45%).

For those who say it had a negative impact, this was primarily due to it being stressful to go to work (62%), distraction (58%), and worsening mental health (35%).

“Dating someone you work with, especially in the early stages, can be thrilling. Based on these results, you can see that it improves the person’s work experience because they have something to look forward to during the day. In a relationship outside of work, you’re usually counting down the hours until you can leave to see your person,” says Toothacre.

“However, a relationship at work could also lead to being distracted, not completing work on time, or being the subject of gossip around the office. Similarly, if the relationship has a rough patch or you break it off, there are a lot of negative feelings that can impact your work or other work relationships. If it’s really bad, one of the parties might feel like they need to find a new job, which can take time.

“A lot of this depends on how large the organization is and how close you are to the person you’re dating. If it’s someone in your department, that can get tricky because you see them frequently. If it’s someone in another department, the risk is lower because you might not see them regularly if things don’t work out.”

Office Workers Value Socializing With Coworkers

Of the workers we surveyed who have had a romantic relationship since returning to the office, the vast majority (93%) say socializing in person with colleagues is very important (59%) or somewhat important (34%) to their overall job satisfaction.

Additionally, workers say they enjoy doing the following:

  • Happy hours with coworkers (87%)
  • Lunch with coworkers (64%)
  • Company social events (48%)

“It’s always a good idea to be at least somewhat social with co-workers because sometimes those casual friendships can lead to support and opportunities at work. Having said that, I don’t believe people should be forced or expected to socialize outside of working hours. If the company wants to create that environment, they must do it during working hours as a team-building experience. Not everyone has the ability to attend events outside of their normal working hours,” says Toothacre.


This survey was commissioned by and conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish. It was launched on February 2, 2024, and consisted of 1,448 respondents.

To qualify for the survey, all participants had to work at a company with at least 11 employees which implemented a return to office policy in 2021 or later. Respondents also had to be between the ages of 18 to 44.

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