Can Virtual Offices Put an End to Office Romance?

LOS ANGELES—Distractions, damaged reputations, sexual harassment accusations. You can’t altogether avoid these potential scenarios in a virtual office world—but you can likely cut down on them.

Think about it. Where there is less face-to-face, in-person contact there is less opportunity for physical relationships. That’s an important factor considering Millennials don’t shy away from workplace relationships, according to a Workplace Options and Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll reveals that 71 percent of employed Millennials—workers aged 18-29—see a workplace romance as having positive effects such as improved performance and morale. Noteworthy is the fact that only 10 percent of older worker shared that sentiment. Could it be wisdom speaking from experience?

Poll results indicate that, as a group, the Millennial generation is more open to dating their supervisors than all other age groups combined. Forty percent of Millennials said they would date their supervisor, compared to 12 percent of older respondents. Again, could that be wisdom speaking from experience?

You can cut back on at least some of this office romancing with a virtual office set up. In a virtual office workplace, Millennials are less likely to chat at the water cooler, make lunch dates that turn into dinner and movies, or otherwise get romantically involved. If your firm is concerned about distractions, damaged reputations and harassment accusations, that’s a positive step.

A virtual office set up can even help you cut back on the gossip that often accompanies office romances—and the gossip that hinders productivity. With 57 percent of Millennials saying they would share information about a workplace romance with friends, coworkers and on social networks, this is a real issue.

Any workplace, whether traditional or virtual, should have clear guidelines around office romances. These relationships can indeed be dangerous. Virtual offices aren’t the panacea to the potential legal risks of office romances, but along with policies and guidelines they can be a tool in a Millennial workplace.

Check out this video on office romances:



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