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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Flirting With Coworkers Reduce Office Stress - Study

Flirting

Flirting can help make the workplace a better place. Researchers found that playing a little spark with colleagues could help reduce stress at work and even boost confidence.

A new study, published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, shows that “casual flirting” could make people feel good about themselves. The increased positivity in the office then helps protect people from stressors.

Researchers from Washington State University said the findings suggest that companies should reconsider zero-tolerance policies toward workplace sexual behavior. For example, Netflix reportedly implemented a five-second stare limit, while workers at NBC have banned from sharing cab rides and should follow guidelines for coworker hugging.

Flirting, such as light-hearted jokes and banter among peers, can be a positively experienced social sexual behavior in the workplace.

Researchers from Washington State University said the findings suggest that companies should reconsider zero-tolerance policies toward workplace sexual behavior. For example, Netflix reportedly implemented a five-second stare limit, while workers at NBC have banned from sharing cab rides and should follow guidelines for coworker hugging.

Flirting, such as light-hearted jokes and banter among peers, can be a positively experienced social sexual behavior in the workplace.

"Some flirting is happening, and it seems pretty benign," Prof. Leah Sheppard, the first study author at WSU, said in a statement. "Even when our study participants disliked the behavior, it still didn't reach the threshold of sexual harassment. It didn't produce higher levels of stress, so it is a very different conceptual space."

Flirting

For the study, researchers examined how people respond to non-harassing social sexual behaviors in the workplace, such as sexual storytelling, jokes, innuendoes, coy glances and compliments on physical appearance. The team conducted a series of surveys with hundreds of workers in the U.S., Canada and the Philippines.

Results showed that majority of the employees were somewhat neutral about sexual storytelling. However, they share positive opinions on flirtation.

"What we found is that when flirtation is enjoyed, it can offer some benefits: it makes people feel good about themselves, which can then protect them from stressors in their lives," Sheppard explained.

Respondents answered questions about their experience with flirting and workplace injustice, such as unfair treatment by supervisors. Researchers then asked the workers' spouses and colleagues on their stress levels.

Workplace flirtation appeared helping people reduce their stress, including those who reported workplace injustice. Some respondents who flirted or experienced it even reported less insomnia.

However, the researchers noted people should identify the difference between casual flirting and sexual harassment. Unwelcome sexual behavior can cause or increase stress and is an issue that needs to be addressed.

The team added that companies should reconsider overly restrictive policies on social sexual behavior. Such policies may send the message that all forms of social sexual behavior, including flirting that is potentially beneficial, must be monitored, controlled and punished.

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