Office romances are becoming more common in Australia, suggests a new study.
Published by Australia's Women's Health magazine, the poll of 671 women has shown that one in five Australian women finds romance in the workplace because longer working hours limit the number of ways they can meet a potential partner.
It also showed that 19 per cent of respondents had dated a co-worker, and about 16 per cent were still in a relationship with someone they had met at work.
Clinical psychologist and relationship expert Traci Coventry also revealed that many of her clients were in office romances.
"A lot of people who are single, who are working from seven in the morning until 11 o'clock at night, (have) no other way to socialize at all," the NZPA quoted her as saying.
"People are working longer and longer hours, particularly with the financial crisis we are having at the moment," she added.
Dr. Coventry further said that some people had two partners: one at work, and one at home.
"They're spending more time in the office than they are at home," she said.
Anne Hollonds, of Relationships Australia, said that not only were people working longer hours, they were also viewing their workplaces as venues for romance.
"These days, we see the workplace as more than somewhere you just do your job and go home," she said.
"People are actually looking at forming relationships at work, friendships.
They're looking for relationships that are of meaning and importance," she added.
According to Hollonds, co-workers would tend to have a lot in common.
"If you go out to a club, it's very hit-and-miss if the person next to you in the bar has anything in common with you," she said.
However, office romances might turn out to be difficult for many, as they can affect relationships with other colleagues and potentially breach the restrictions some employers have regarding workplace trysts.
"It's certainly not a smooth road meeting partners at work but we seem to be doing it in reasonably large numbers," Hollonds said.
"It shows that we are risk-takers, really, because getting emotionally involved with someone at work can be a huge risk to your job and your professional reputation because things can go wrong.
"It might mean that because there are less jobs out there, when you do meet someone at work and don't want to [continue working together], it is harder for one of you to find another job.
"The risk is that you find yourself in a situation where you are emotionally involved but you're stuck together," she added.