#onlinedating | Has lockdown spelled the end of the office romance? | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

The office romance appears to have fizzled out thanks to four months of working from home.

With opportunities to flirt with colleagues now reduced thanks to most of us logging on from the dining table or spare bedroom, it looks like love will struggle to find a way between co-workers.

One in 10 people meet their spouse at work and two in three UK workers have admitted they would date a colleague, according to workplace health and safety consultancy Protecting.co.uk.

“Covid-19 has really thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to dating at work,” says company spokesman Mark Hall. “Budding romances have come to an abrupt end, and no one wants to flirt with a co-worker over a company Zoom meeting.”

Working from home has become the new routine for 49% of working adults in the UK, meaning half of the workforce are not socialising face-to-face with their co-workers.

Mr Hall said: “Working from home means there is no office banter, which means gone are the days of easily flirting with your co-workers and asking them out.”

Protecting.co.uk spoke to some of its customers to see how their office romances were fairing during the crisis, with Helen responding: “I’ve been slowly working up the courage to ask one of the production lads out for a drink, but I’ve totally lost my nerve during lockdown so will probably give up.”

Taurab said: “I do Zoom with my department, but now I’ve got no need to speak to a lovely lady in accounts, I used to walk past her desk but now I haven’t seen her in months.”

Meanwhile, Jon said: “There is no way I can flirt with that hot guy at work through the weekly office Zoom meeting, and I’m hardly the guy to slide into him DMs, and now it’s going to be awkward going back because I feel like I’m going to have to start the banter all over again before I can ask him on a date. Argh!”

Theresa responded: “I was relying on the summer office party to get the opportunity to talk to one guy outside of work to see if it’s worth pursuing, so I guess now I’ll have to hope we get the go ahead for the Christmas party and try then.”

Currently, you are more likely to meet your partner at work than in a bar, online or through mutual friends, but this could be set to change in the future if working from home becomes the norm. Online dating firm eHarmony believes more than 50% of couples will meet online by 2031.

“The future of dating looks like it will end up online, but people crave human interaction, and many find it easier to slowly build up relationships in person,” said Mr Hall.

“If working from home becomes a new way of working, it’ll be important for employers to put on social events for staff outside of work hours to encourage people to get to know each other.”

But at the moment, dating is the last thing on some people’s minds after spending months trying to avoid social situations due to the pandemic. A third of people have become so used to being alone during lockdown that dating has no longer become a priority to them, and they want to spend more time enjoying their own company.




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