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The Return of Dating in the Workplace

As generational shifts begin to remake the post-pandemic workplace, there may also be shifts in how employees view dating at work. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports younger millennials (individuals born in the first half of the 90s) and Generation Z (1997 to 2013) employees are increasingly open to workplace romances. In a sampling of 632 working Americans taken in January 2023, SHRM found nearly a third of those two groups are good with workplace romance, nearly twice as much as older millennials (born in the 80s). Moreover, three-quarters of the individuals interviewed were just fine with their coworkers dating someone at work.

A human resources expert interviewed by The Washington Post said younger workers, who are an increasing portion of the workforce, may just be more honest and upfront about what they think. While a thaw might be coming, most workers (75 percent) remain uninterested in workplace romances. Seventy-one percent of employees reported their employers do not require them to disclose workplace romances. Unsurprisingly, most workers are more likely to share dating news with their coworkers, not their supervisors. About 40 percent of employees questioned said they believe workplace romances are unprofessional.

According to The Post, workplace romances went up during the early stages of the pandemic as employees looked for connections through Slack and Zoom. Without others watching, employees found ways to develop relationships, presumably to avoid the isolation of the pandemic. One expert noted how the hybrid workplace made it easier to foster these relationships because they did not have to be in the office five days a week. Workplace romances are now down to pre-pandemic levels (27 percent), but as seen in SHRM's study, perspectives going forward appear to be shifting.