More than half the UK’s managers believe it is not an abuse of power to have a relationship with a more junior colleague, according to research.
Following the furore over deputy prime minister John Prescott’s affair with his secretary, the Aziz Corporation surveyed more than 500 managers on their attitudes to relationships in business.
More than half (53%) said a relationship with a junior colleague was acceptable, while an even greater number believe that a relationship with a more senior colleague or client (55%), or with a colleague of the same seniority (73%), would not be a problem.
The study demonstrates a relaxed attitude to workplace relationships, with the overwhelming majority of bosses (83%) finding it perfectly acceptable to look for a future partner at work.
Indeed, 29% have been involved in a long-term relationship with a colleague, and 35% have had a ‘fling’ with someone at work.
Khalid Aziz, chairman of the Aziz Corporation, said: “Contrary to the many comments that in business John Prescott would have been dismissed, bosses in the UK today seem to take a more relaxed view.
“It appears it is now acceptable to mix business and pleasure, reflecting the fact that you are likely to spend more time with your colleagues than with your family or friends. The shared intensity of the workplace has, for a long time, acted to ignite passions and with our culture of long working hours, this only looks set to continue.”
The research also reveals that 43% of manager have fancied someone at work and not known how to act upon it, 44% have had sexual fantasies about a colleague, and 28% have sent a flirtatious e-mail to someone they work with.
One in eight (13%) confess to having had sex or ‘intimate relations’ in the office itself.