Taboo no more: workplace romance

Apparently romantic relationships at work no longer require whispers.

In two recent surveys, 76 percent of respondents said they saw nothing wrong with intra-office dating, and 70 percent of employers polled said they had no policies or guidelines regarding office romance.

Several factors - like more women in the workforce, increased productivity, and the proliferation of the Internet - have altered the workplace dynamic. And as workers log more time at the office, people are getting to know each other in new ways.

"Increasingly, employers are more tolerant of the typical office romance," says John Challenger of the international outplace firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

As long as couples can get the job done, it seems employers will remain tolerant. "The objective is to be more understanding, and to ensure that performance and morale does not suffer," says Molly Allen, a human-resources manager for Texas Instruments.

To be sure though, the new tolerance has limits. "Traditional boundaries still hold true," says Ms. Allen. "A romantic relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate could interfere with business and must be avoided."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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