Bosses introduce love contracts as 70% admit having office affairs

A survey by AOL of 10,052 people found that 71% of UK adults have had a love affair with a colleague.

A survey by AOL of 10,052 people found that 71% of UK adults have had a love affair with a colleague.

More than 25% of respondents are still in relationships with partners from office romances, and 66% said they would consider starting an affair with a work colleague.

Ten per cent confessed to sleeping with the boss to gain promotion, and 33% said they would consider doing so.

Josa Young, head of AOL's careers and work channel, said the workplace has become one of the most popular environments in which to meet a partner. "Now that men and women work outside the home in almost equal numbers, this is inevitable. Smouldering looks across an office, flirty e-mails and cosy lunches have become the new courting tools," she said.

The survey comes a month after travel agent Thomson drew up a "sex in the workplace" code for its 12,000 employees. Staff, and especially managers are being asked to let the company know if they are in a relationship that might lead to a conflict of interest.

City law firm Fox Williams surveyed 1,280 employers and found that 20% of UK firms have a policy regarding intimate relationships between members of staff, with approximately the same number again considering the introduction of "love contracts".

More than 40% of respondents said their main concern about office romances is the improper dissemination of confidential information. Others were also concerned about the effect on productivity and problems with perceived favouritism.

More than 20% of respondents confirmed that if such business risks were identified, they would consider relocating one of the workers and, subject to the availability of alternative roles, the person to be moved is more likely to be the junior employee.

Carl Richards, employment specialist at Fox Williams, said, "Love contracts seek to protect organisations from genuine risks and there is a move by employers to make their position on this issue clear to staff. As people spend more time at work, it is not surprising that intimate relationships develop, and employers are becoming aware of the associated risks to their business."
This was last published in July 2003

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