Flowers, chocolates or a crate of seafood - which will you receive at work this Valentine's Day?
Siân Harrington, February 14, 2011
One in five employees has received a Valentine's Day gift at work but 44% of workers would be unhappy with an office romance policy.
Women are 12 times more likely to receive gifts at work then men, according to a survey out today. Of those employees who received a Valentine’s present at their desk, 73% said they knew who had sent the gift.
Unsurprisingly, flowers (72%) and chocolates (8%) were the most popular gifts. However, 5% of employees have received wine and 5% beauty products. Among the more unusual Valentine’s gifts sent to the workplace were a crate of seafood, a box of condoms, a lemon juicer and a live goldfish.
"Everyone loves to receive a gift on Valentine’s Day – but be careful not to embarrass anyone in front of their boss or their colleagues and you should probably think twice before posting off lemon juicers," said Michael Howard, chairman of workplace design company Maris Interiors, which conducted the research.
Meanwhile, a YouGov survey commissioned by workplace information, software and services company Croner has found that two in five workers would be outraged if their boss introduced a ‘love contract’.
The survey was undertaken after it was revealed that Fenland District Council had planned to bring in a policy under which ’intimate behaviour’ during work time would be deemed unacceptable.
The council proposed that employees who embarked on a close personal relationship would need to reveal this to their manager in writing. If employees were found to be in breach of the proposed policy, it would be classed as gross misconduct and result in disciplinary action. Local councillors have since unanimously rejected the idea.
In the YouGov survey more than a fifth of employees said such a contract would be bad for staff morale. Only 3% of workers surveyed thought it should be necessary for their boss to be made aware of the situation.
The research also revealed that 30% of respondents admitted to having had a relationship with a colleague. "The impact and importance of office relationships are perennial workplace issues and we get calls to our employment helplines looking for guidance on how to deal with issues like these," said Amy Paxton, senior employment consultant at Croner.
"Situations where one partner has line management responsibility for the other, or an influence on the other’s promotion prospects, or where the end of a relationship causes difficulties at work, do arise. But the fact that so many people meet their life partners in the office and continue to work together shows that workplace romances aren’t necessarily always a problem."