Should you keep an office romance secret?

Majority find nothing wrong with office relationships – so why keep it hush-hush?

Should you keep an office romance secret?

Finding love in the workplace isn’t entirely a new phenomenon – just ask a third of Canadians who are now, or have been, involved in a romantic relationship at work.

But not all who engage in office romance are comfortable opening up about it in the workplace.

In a recent survey by ADP Canada, almost half of Canadians (45%) who have been romantically involved with a co-worker have kept it a secret from at least one person, while more than a quarter (27%) have kept it hush-hush altogether.

Out of all their colleagues, HR is often among the last to know since employees tend to hide office romance from HR (37%) and management (40%), ADP Canada said.

READ MORE: Should HR ban office relationships?

“We know people are finding love at work, but many are keeping it a secret,” said Heather Haslam, vice president of marketing at ADP Canada.

In truth, the majority of working Canadians (83%) find nothing wrong with office romance; they are open to the idea and aren’t concerned when they learn co-workers are romantically involved.

So why do workers prefer to keep their office romance a secret?

Researchers suggest this is due to employees’ limited understanding of company policy about work relationships as well as their concerns over a possible backlash on their career.

Only 31% of those who found romance at work say they are aware of office regulations or ethical codes that define what is and is not acceptable when it comes to being in a relationship with a co-worker.

“HR policies should not exist to control employees, but to protect them,” Haslam said. “These statistics represent a call to action for organizations to make their policies clear to employees and to offer them the support and resources they need to feel comfortable navigating these situations.”

Recent articles & video

5 Ways for HR to Maximize Learning & Development for ROI

Can you fire a worker who was put on a performance management plan?

Stay-or-pay clauses in Canada? Experts weigh in on the U.S. trend of charging employees who quit

CSIS officers allege sexual harassment, toxic workplace culture with employer

Most Read Articles

'Why am I here?' The real employee engagement question HR needs to be asking

What’s ‘just cause’? Getting it wrong is costing employers money

Canada needs 20,000 truck drivers, maybe more: Report