Idea of finding love at the office receives especially strong support from older workers.
It’s no secret that people in Japan take their jobs very seriously. But while there’s a general expectation that professionals will prioritize work over their social lives, Japan is also incredibly accepting of in-office romances.
Highlighting this are the results of a recent survey by Media Care Life Insurance in which researchers polled a total of 1,000 participants, split into two groups. The first, referred to as the “new employees,” was made up of 500 people from across the country between the ages of 20 and 29 who’ve been working in their companies for five years or less, while the second group, the “veterans,” consisted of 500 people between the ages of 40 and 59 who’ve been with their present employer for 15 years or more.
When asked if they thought romances between coworkers are acceptable, the overwhelming majority said they see nothing wrong with such couplings. Provided the relationship isn’t affecting their work or ability to interact with other coworkers, 85.6 percent of the new employees said an office romance is OK, and the figure rose even higher, to 89.4 percent, among the veterans.
▼ It’s worth pointing out, though, that Japanese coworkers who’re dating tend to be very discreet, and generally refrain from open shows of affection in front of the rest of the office.
As for how many had dated a coworker themselves, roughly one in four (24 percent) of the younger group said they’ve done so, as did 43.6 percent of the veterans. Whether that’s a product of the older workers getting gradually closer to a special coworker as they spend years working side by side, or simply a result of other opportunities to meet singles drying up as people get older isn’t something the researchers pursued.
In a bit of a statistical anomaly, the percentages of respondents with positive feelings about marrying a coworker were even higher than those agreeable to dating one. 87.8 percent of the new employees and 91.6 percent of the veterans said tying the knot with a coworker is fine, with the increased acceptance most likely a result of some people saying they weren’t in favor of “dating” a coworker because they were thinking of a lighthearted fling, as opposed to an earnest courtship.
However, even though the idea of marrying a coworker receive almost unanimous support, that doesn’t mean everyone is onboard with the idea of the couple continuing to work together after their wedding. 16.8 percent of the younger employees, plus 22.6 of the older ones, said it wouldn’t be a good idea for both halves a married couple to keep occupying the exact same workplace, implying that once they’re ready to take the step from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife, one of them should also be ready to leave the company, or at least the department.