We regret to announce the death of the office romance
Because it’s highly unlikely you will meet the love of your life while working at your dining table
One of the benefits (or hazards, depending on your perspective) of office working – the office romance – is fizzling out, thanks to four months of working from home.
With one in ten people meeting their spouse at work, and thousands entering into doomed work-based relationships, these stats look like a thing of the past in present circumstances, says a workplace health and safety consultancy.
You simply can’t have an office romance over Zoom, says UK based Health and safety firm Protecting.co.uk, as people miss out of person-to-person contact. But is this a bad thing?
“Covid-19 has really thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to dating at work,” says company spokesman Mark Hall. “Budding romances have come to an abrupt, and no one wants to flirt with a co-worker over a company zoom meeting.”
“I used to walk past her desk but now I haven’t seen her in months”
Two in three UK workers have admitted they would date a colleague, but with fewer people heading into the office, workplace romances might become a thing of the past.
Working from home has become the new normal for 49% of working adults in the UK, meaning that half of the workforce are not socialising face-to-face with their co-workers.
Hall: “Working from home means there is no office banter, which means gone are the days of easily flirting with your co-workers and asking them out.”
We spoke to customers and asked about how their office romances were fairing during the crisis, and it seems as if love is struggling to find a way. Names changed to protect the guilty:
• Helen, “I’ve been slowly working up the courage to ask one of the production lads out for a drink, but I’ve totally lost my nerve during lockdown so will probably give up.”
• Taurab, “I do Zoom with my department, but now I’ve got no need to speak to a lovely lady in accounts, I used to walk past her desk but now I haven’t seen her in months.”
• Alice, “I’ve had to try online dating, but I’ve been catfished twice. Wouldn’t have that problem with the guys in the office because I see them every day so at least I know they are genuine people.”
• Jon, “There is no way I can flirt with that hot guy at work through the weekly office zoom meeting, and I’m hardly the guy to slide into him DMs, and now it’s going to be awkward going back because I feel like I’m going to have to start the banter all over again before I can ask him on a date. Argh!”
• Theresa, “I was relying on the summer office party to get the opportunity to talk to one guy outside of work to see if it’s worth pursuing, so I guess now I’ll have to hope we get the go ahead for the Christmas party and try then.”
Hall: “Chatting to people at work takes the pressure off, you’re both in familiar territory and you’re not having to go out on a limb to talk to someone new because you already know each other – all of which is impossible while you’re working from your dining room table.”
The future of dating
Currently, you are more likely to meet your partner at work that in a bar, online or through mutual friends, but this could be set to change with more people working from home.
Online dating experts eHarmony believe that over 50% of couples will meet online by 2031, which will definitely compensate for the lack of human workplace interaction.
“The future of dating looks like it will end up online, but people crave human interaction, and many find it easier to slowly build up relationships in person,” says company spokesman Mark Hall.
“If working from home becomes a new way of working, it’ll be important for employers to put on social events for staff outside of work hours to encourage people to get to know each other.”
But at the moment, dating is the last thing on some people’s minds after spending months trying to avoid social situations due to the pandemic.
A third of people have become so used to being alone during lockdown, that dating has no longer become a priority to them, and they want to spend more time enjoying their own company.
Hall: “People have taken the time to figure out what they want in a partner, and with lockdown measures still present people are understandably cautious about venturing back into the world of dating, so singletons may opt to stay single for a while longer.
“Office romance may be dying, but true love – if you find it – can still last forever.”