For a significant section of India’s corporate sector, romancing a colleague, or even the boss, is all in a day’s work, according to a survey, Romance at Workplace, conducted by staffing company TeamLease Services.
A third of those surveyed also saw no harm in romancing a married colleague, while 44 per cent said an affair was often a strategic move to climb the corporate ladder.
The first in a series of surveys aimed at understanding the country’s new corporate world, the study covered 402 men and women from leading companies in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Chandigarh and Hyderabad.
Fifty-nine per cent of executives felt that women often initiated affairs and were equal partners in office romances. Kolkata led the list, with eight out of 10 people saying that women took the lead. Asked why an employee would have a relationship with the boss, 59 per cent of Delhiites interviewed said it would be for “quick promotions or a higher salary”.
Ameeta Sinha (28), a BPO employee in Gurgaon, seconds that. She and a colleague joined the organisation around the same time. “My colleague was soon promoted as operations manager because she was having a scene with our grey-haired, hot-shot boss. Her salary now is twice mine."
A majority of respondents (56 per cent), however, felt that organisations should not intervene in workplace romances. An equal number also felt that such affairs took a toll on the quality and speed of work.
The general opinion said that long working hours in close proximity with the opposite sex led to workplace romances. “This wouldn’t be the case if an old-economy sector like manufacturing, with fewer women, was booming,” said Tania Gooptu, partner in Aventus, an HR advisory firm. Younger employees and a higher ratio of women in the boom sectors, like BPOs, consulting and finance, have made workplace affairs a common talking point, she added.
Overall, 16 per cent of those surveyed said they’ve been romantically involved with a colleague.
Mukund Johri, senior executive with a Mumbai-based finance company, said the figure is much more than that. "As far as sex is concerned, everyone is with everyone."
(Inputs by Nivriti Butalia)