Flirting with coworkers helps reduce stress, study reveals

Flirting with coworkers helps reduce stress, study reveals

Researchers have found that flirting with your coworkers could help reduce stress at work and potentially boost your self-confidence.

A new study, published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, shows that "casual flirting" can have the effect of making people feel good about themselves. And this feeling of positivity around the office protects them from feeling overwhelmed by stress.

According to researchers from Washington State University, the study's findings perhaps signify that companies should reconsider any zero-tolerance policies as far as sexual contact between colleagues is concerned.

This is the moment Ryan Seacrest - who did not realize the cameras were rolling - flirted with Katy Perry live on air. Could this be considered appropriate workplace flirtation?

For instance, Netflix has reportedly put in place a five-second stare limit, while employees at NBC are banned from sharing cab rides and have to adhere to strict guidelines even where platonic forms of physical contact - such as hugging - are concerned.

They say that flirting, for example, suggestive jokes and banter among coworkers can make for a positive experience in the workplace.

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"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."

As part of the study, a team of researchers examined the participants' response to non-harassing social sexual behaviors in the workplace. These included sexual anecdotes, jokes, innuendoes, suggestive glances and compliments based on physical appearance. The researchers carried out a number of surveys with hundreds of employees in the US, Canada, and the Philippines.

While the findings indicated that the majority of the workers were fairly neutral about the telling of sexual anecdotes, they had a positive reaction to flirting at work.