When it comes to work-life balance, there are some who feel that work life and personal life are two very distinct entities. And while that may be true and even necessary in some scenarios, there are other situations where work-life boundaries may get a little blurred. Such is often the case with work relationships–platonic or otherwise. To find out more about this professional-meets-personal concern, CivicScience asked over 3,000 U.S. adults about their experience with work relationships.
According to the data, over half of working U.S. adults consider at least one colleague a close friend.
Given the extreme time demands that many jobs require, it only makes sense that friendships are forming during work hours.
Men and Women Explore Friendships Differently
The data also reveals unique quirks among genders. While women are most likely to have at least one colleague they consider a friend, men are slightly more likely to report having several.
There is often an assumption that men and women socialize differently, and regardless of the truth behind that, this data does indicate some real friendship differences at work.
Age Can Make or Break Office Friendships
When looking at age data, Gen Xers and Boomers are more likely to report having several close friends that are colleagues.
36% of Millennials polled do report having at least one colleague they consider a friend, but out of all the groups are the more likely to say they don’t consider any colleagues to be friends.
Ultimately, the earlier you are in your career, the less confident you may be, which could explain why older generations report more work friendships.
Where You Work Matters
Having friends at work is also largely dependent on an individual’s occupation. Those in the service industry are far and away the most likely to report having at least one close friend at work, followed closely by those in the tech and medical industries, and operations/sales.
It is worth noting that those in professional or managerial roles do not report especially high rates of office friendship, a reality that could speak to the work environment typical in the professional world.
Taking It to the Next Level: Office Romance
But, the office isn’t just a place for friendship. It can also be a place for romance, as 43% of U.S. adults report having a romantic relationship with someone at work at some point in their career.
In this case, it’s clear that those in the tech and medical fields lead the way with office romance, with over half of respondents who work in these fields indicating that they have had a romantic relationship with a colleague.
And while gender is relatively even, men do have a slight lead over women when it comes to getting serious.
Are men more romantically motivated in the workplace? Or could some of this bravado be connected to a more nuanced gender-specific power dynamic? It’s certainly something to consider.
While those from all age groups have had a workplace romance, Gen Xers are the most likely.
Ultimately, office relationships of all stripes are alive and well. Whether it’s platonic or something more, the workplace, it seems, is a prime location for meeting people in person. And regardless of the outcome, the opportunity to see how the dynamic plays out in person is a somewhat novel opportunity in this digital age.