Workplace relationships nose dive after a year of remote working

Workplace relationships have taken a huge hit during the COVID pandemic, given 22% of UK workers meet their partner or spouse at work.

Despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions, of the 1,000 office workers VenureScanner surveyed, just one in five expect to be fully office-based which it argued meant workers were missing out on vital in-person conversations.

Many workers see offices as an opportune time to make new friends and connections, with 58% having made good friends at work and 14% introducing colleagues to other friends outside of work.

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The majority (94%) of workers surveyed said they wanted to meet up with their colleagues, yet just 15% wanted to be in the office full time with 56% preferring to mix home and office working.

Rebecca Kelly, CEO and founder of VenueScanner, said: “Office camaraderie provides a level of human connection we all need and plays a big role in motivating people and driving success, yet it’s in danger of fizzling out if get-togethers stay largely virtual.”

Younger people were most likely to have met a partner at work, with a third of 18-to-24-year-olds striking up a close personal relationship which eventually developed into a romantic relationship.

Sophie Scott, workplace wellbeing consultant and psychotherapist, said having in person conversations boost confidence and self-esteem.

She said: “Daily small talk, which usually centres on what's right in front of us, paves the way for deeper and more meaningful connections to build. Without it, our self-esteem, motivation, perception and communication skills erode. Most of us can recognise the giddy high we experience when sussing out someone in our environment - whether platonic or not.”

Women were more likely to make a good work friend than men and many workers acknowledged the boost to mental health, job satisfaction, performance and productivity in person interactions have.

Scott also said heading into the office can also help keep relationships healthy.   

She added: “Cohabiting couples in a happy relationship require some healthy distance and space from one another in order to keep eroticism, curiosity and imagination alive.”