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.”

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