Seems like everyone is being more careful nowadays about sexual harassment in the workplace and that’s a good thing. But the #MeeToo movement is also having an impact on something else: office romances.
A new study of about 800 employees released by human capital solutions company CareerBuilder has found that the number of Americans involved (or at least admitting to be involved) in an office romance has fallen to a 10-year low — from 41 percent last year to 36 percent this year. Thirty-seven percent of men say they have dated a co-worker compared to 35 percent of women, while one in five male workers (20 percent) say they have dated someone at work two or more times in their career, compared to just 15 percent of their female colleagues.
“The #MeToo movement is splashing cold water on whatever embers of romance are struggling to survive between men and women,” Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist and author said in this Reuters report.
The advice by experts is for workers to proceed slowly and make sure that their approaches–“safe” gestures like candy, cards, compliments and flowers — are open and consented to. Other advice includes making sure employees are aware of company policy, keeping their relationship (and their personal lives) clear of the office and not letting a romantic relationship with one worker impact relationships with others.
One piece of good news for those willing to take the chance on an office romance: there’s a good shot that it will last. The survey found that almost a third (31 percent) lead to marriage. “#MeToo will make relationships between men and women more romantic,” women’s rights activist Jaclyn Friedman told Reuters. “If we all become more thoughtful about the care with which we treat our partners, it can only help build trust and intimacy.”