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The Scientific Benefits of Office Love

The taboo of office love is a thing of the past. If science says so, Millenial workplace trends say so, and your heart says so, it must be true. According to Stephanie Losee author of Office Mate, "the office is the village of the 21st century" and it's a logical place to meet a potential partner. Colleagues are pre-screened by HR and you have the opportunity to observe their true personality — quirks, under pressure, strokes of genius and all — without the anxiety of a first date.

And most importantly, the scientific benefits are there.

The Science

A study conducted by O.C. Tanner, a global employee recognition company, found that 72% of employees who have a best friend at work are satisfied with their jobs compared to only 54% of those who don’t have one. While your partner might not automatically take on the role of your best friend, chances are you engage in positive banter and spend face-to-face time interacting at work.

Face time with colleagues causes the release of the so called “cuddle chemical” oxytocin which plays a role in facilitating trust and attachment between individuals. Our growing lack of social contact in the workplace due to advances in technology has completely altered the way we work and has hindered our ability to create meaningful workplace relationships. How many times has Slack replaced a face-to-face conversation this week alone? Having your lover or partner in the office guarantees additional face-to-face time.

And it’s not just about that feel good chemical. Productivity and performance increase with more face-to-face time as well. Susan Pinker, author of The Village Effect, sites a study in which 25,000 call center agents were divided into two groups — one who took breaks alone, and another who took breaks with colleagues. The group who had 15 minutes to socialize with others showed a 20% increase in performance.

The Trend

If the scientific benefits of office love don’t have you convinced your life partner is across the meeting room, Millennial workplace trends might. Along with the 9-5 grind and 40-year corporate ladder climb, Millennial workers have thrown out the taboo of inter-office relations. Offices are no longer the no-go zone for love, but at times more fruitful than Tinder, Bumble and Happn combined.

A study from Workplace Options show that 84% of Millennial workers (aged 18 - 29) are open to office love, while 36% of Generation Xers (aged 30 - 46) and only 29% of Baby Boomers  (aged 47-66) agree. Another survey by Approved Index asked 1,550 U.K. office workers about their love lives to find 65% have experienced at least one office romance during their careers. So rest assured that in today’s modern office (most) of your colleagues won’t be looking down on your workplace romance. They might be looking up to it.

The Instinct

If you feel it, you feel it, and office design might have more to do with it that you think. Comfy sofas organized around common spaces, cafeterias, hangout rooms, or just a well designed coffee and tea station encourage people to interact. “There’s a synergy that happens when people are together in the same place and have the freedom to bounce ideas off each other,” adds Pinker. Office romances no longer need to be formed in the broom closet, they can be built out in the open with full consent of colleagues and bosses. In fact, your bosses will benefit from the additional time you spend talking about work and problem solving in your free time. Thank you, office love.  

Have you ever dated a colleague? Did your experience with office love fit with the statistics or leave you distracted? Tell us how you feel on Twitter. Find us @OfficeServeFood

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