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Office romance popular, risky
Updated: 2004-10-13 13:57

Office romances are controversial and awkward, but they are also surprisingly common among white-collar workers in Shanghai, a recent survey suggests.

ChinaHR.com, one of the country's leading Web-based headhunters, surveyed 3,901 office workers in the city between the ages of 25 and 36 about their attitudes towards office affairs.

More than 53 percent of office workers surveyed admitted that they have had at least one office romance, while about 7 percent said they have been in a relationship with a co-worker that lasted for at least two years.

The report suggests the main reason office workers are falling in love at their cubicles is that strong emotions can brew through long-term contact with an office colleague.

"To be frank, the office is the only resource at hand for us to find Mr or Ms Right as young office workers in modern companies are usually too busy to expand their social circles," said Frances Wu, a consultant at an international accounting company.

Wu says that endless hours of overtime made it difficult for her to meet any man outside of the office. The 24-year-old is now in a relationship with a mid-level manager at her company.

While many youngsters are finding love on the job, not everyone approves.

About 40 percent of those surveyed said such affairs are inappropriate. The report indicated that about 48 percent of respondents feel an inter-office love affair will not only affect their own mood at work, but also have a negative impact on the rest of the office.

Fears about damage to the working environment have caused many bosses to ban employees from dating each other, otherwise one of the partners will be transferred to other department or even dismissed, according to a human resource manager surnamed Yang at a local IT company.

The survey suggests about 40 percent of office lovers will keep their affair secret from co-workers.

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