Tips on how to enjoy a workplace romance after survey reveals more than half of Kiwis are in favour

workplace relationships
Consider this before going for that drink with Tony from accounting. Photo credit: Getty.

Many Kiwis will know the heady excitement of developing a crush on a coworker, or starting a not-so-secret dalliance of after-work drinks and the occasional sexy email. 

But if you're thinking more about boardroom trysts than your 9am meeting, you're not alone. 

A psychologist has issued some tips and tricks for keeping your mind firmly on your project at hand when engaging in an office tryst, after a new survey revealed more than 50 percent of New Zealanders are in favour of workplace relationships. 

The survey by Seek NZ revealed that one in five Kiwis have been in a romantic relationship with a co-worker or colleague, with more than half (54 percent) of respondents agreeing it should be allowed. 

Sabina Read, resident psychologist at the jobseeker website, said there are many pros to a workplace relationship and it "makes sense" they often flourish. 

"We typically spend much of our lives at work, with like-minded co-workers who often share similar values, interests, education and skill sets," she explained to Newshub. 

"In contrast to online dating - or even old-fashioned face-to-face dating - which can feel somewhat contrived, workplace romances allow us to see each other in a more natural setting over time which can give deeper and more honest insights into our strengths, weaknesses and personality traits."

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Many companies have clauses against fraternization in their contracts - and there's a good reason why. 

"Potential complications of workplace romances will likely occur when a power imbalance exists between the two parties involved. Issues can range from awkwardness to serious breaches of company and HR policies," said Read. 

"Although heady infatuation and attraction can be intoxicating and difficult to ignore, one night stands or multiple inappropriate flings could potentially damage your professional reputation, so it's wise to tread slowly when you're seriously interested in a colleague. 

"It's also prudent to be mindful of how your dating behaviour might impact co-workers and stakeholders who may feel uncomfortable with overt displays of affection or excessive pillowtalk!" 

But if you and Tony in accounting just can't resist each other, Read has put together her top three tips for going forward with a relationship in the workplace. 

  1. Approach the relationship with transparency and sensitivity, yet without shame or secrecy. 
  2. Consider the needs of co-workers who may feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or resentful if they work with both parties and are not informed about the relationship. 
  3. Celebrate and nurture your union with gratitude, respect and professionalism whether you are happily dating or breaking-up. Happy and connected co-workers can be an asset to any organisation, while fragile and agitated exes can create a toxic ripple effect in the wake of a messy break-up.

And there you have it - bookmark this page for after this year's Christmas party.