London:  Women, beware of office flirts, as they might be doing so because they are bored of their job and lacking in sensitivity, psychologists say.

A survey of about 200 people carried out by a team from the Surrey University in the UK found that office flirts had lower levels of job satisfaction, suggesting that rather than being a sign of passion their amorous behaviour could be down to ennui.

A follow-up study found that men who flirted at workplace had lower levels of "emotional intelligence" or understanding of other people's feelings.

The second study also indicated that women who flirted at work were happier in their jobs, but researchers said the result could have been a fluke, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The researchers set out to test the theory that flirting could improve people's chances of being promoted at work. Dr Adrian Banks, who led the study, said: "What we found was the complete opposite. Flirts don't perform better at work and men who flirt are less satisfied with their jobs. "There is strong evidence against that notion that you can flirt your way to the top."

The team then conducted a second survey to establish whether men who flirted at work were different from their peers in any way. It was found that such men had lower levels of emotional intelligence, meaning they were worse at understanding other people's emotions and controlling their own feelings.

This could have meant they were less able to suppress flirtatious behaviour or judge whether their actions were inappropriate, Dr Banks suggested. Although it was unclear why flirty men had lower job satisfaction, one explanation could be that their behavior was down to boredom, he added.

"Flirting is not going to be the way to advance your career, and of course flirting when it is unwanted is not appropriate and you shouldn't do it. It is not going to help and could be harmful," he said.

Speaking at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in London, he added while flirting seems romantic, people also do so in order to attract help and improve relationships.

(Agencies)