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Chances are that, at least once in our lives, we will feel attracted to a colleague. After all, when you are seeing the same people every day and perhaps sharing a few pints on a Friday, there’s a good chance that innocent emails can turn into heated glances over the photocopier – right?
But do these glances ever turn into more? Should they? Our members recently revealed to us just what they think of having sex at work..
At EliteSingles we wanted to know if Irish workplaces embrace the glamorous hedonism of Mad Men or if the reality is more like the mundane 9-5 of The Office. To find out, we polled our members for their thoughts and experiences of office romance (and you can have your – anonymous – say below!).
The results of the survey? Well, they should reassure employers, at least!1
Do people have sex at work?
Although a similar number (61% of men compared to 56% of women) admitted to having sexual fantasies about a colleague and have previously flirted, men are clearly more willing to follow through: 52% said they would do it, compared to just 21% of women. But this, fortunately for employers, is more shocking than the reality. Only 25% of the men asked, and just 14% of women, have had sex at work.
Where in the office appeals for sex?
When asked about most tempting places for workplace sex, some clichéd rendezvous spots were overlooked by survey respondents. It seems that single Irish professionals are indifferent to the copy machine’s traditional allure, with overwhelming preference shown for the security of the storage room, a personal office space or a conference room.
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But such temptations mostly remain fantasies; just 2% of women surveyed have had an encounter in the storage room; just 8% in their own office. Men are slightly less risk-averse, it seems, with 14% exploring other uses for their office, 9% trying the conference room, and 9% investigating what else the storage room has to offer. But with no office location witness to more than 15% of respondents’ deviance, it is clear that sex remains more in the minds of restless employees than it does anywhere else in the office.
Consequences if caught
Knowledge of the consequences – the risk of being fired or upsetting the office atmosphere – probably explains why these encounters go mostly unrealised. According to the study, two-thirds of workers habitually flirt with colleagues, and 56% of women and 61% of men replied that they had sexually fantasised about a colleague – yet just a fifth admitted to previously having sex at work. Ireland’s workforce are evidently more about concerned about the risks (or subsequent embarrassment) to let their flirting become much more.
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Is less sex at work better?
That such encounters remain largely unrealised is not necessarily a bad thing for longer-term relationships. Romance among colleagues is often not the best idea. While a quarter of survey respondents said they would be worried about their relationship being spoiled, one American study recently suggested that the satisfaction of couples who had fallen in love at work was noticeably less than those meeting through an online dating site.1 For Irish employees looking for professional and personal stability, perhaps keeping romance and work separate is the best idea!
EliteSingles editorial, November 2013.
These results were taken from an online survey with 191 participants from the UK and Ireland. Average age: 44. 64% female.
1Cacioppo, J.T., Cacioppo, S., Gonzaga, G.C., Ogburn, E.L., and Vander Weele, T.J. (2013). ‘Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues’ PNAS.