Romance in the workplace: When it's okay, when it crosses the line

There are many successful relationships and marriages that originate at the workplace. Research about employees’ reactions to workplace romances shows that most of them do not mind seeing a romance develop between two unmarried colleagues...


There are many successful relationships and marriages that originate at the workplace. Research about employees’ reactions to workplace romances shows that most of them do not mind seeing a romance develop between two unmarried colleagues.

On the other hand, employees do object to relationships in which one or both coworkers are married to someone else, and they also oppose romances when the relationship is between a supervisor and a direct report. What do you need to know when navigating a workplace romance?

Know your organisation’s written and unwritten policies about romantic, sexual, extramarital, or dating relationships. Also, find out whether you’re required to report a dating relationship to Human Resources.

Inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace is quite common on company time and many organisations forbid intimate relationships even outside supervisory relationships. Companies often forbid romances between employees who report to the same supervisor, and some companies won’t even allow employees in different departments to date or have hookups between their employees and clients or customers.

If you do find yourself attracted to a coworker, these actions will minimise any possible damage to your career.

Calculate your risks and move slowly.

Avoid one-night stands and married coworkers.
Don’t get too intense too quickly. Get to know the person you’re interested in.
Keep the relationship private and discreet until you are ready to publicly announce that you are a couple, and limit the number of people at work with whom you share this confidential information.
Be honest with yourself so you don’t find that you are on the road to destruction.

Acknowledge that no relationship is guaranteed to last. So discuss with the person you are dating how you’ll handle yourselves if the relationship ends. If and when it fails, be certain to have an exit strategy already in place, such as an internal move, moving to a rival company, or another plan.

Discuss as a couple the potential impact of your relationship on your work. For example, will one of you have to leave a department or the company? Will your organisation be supportive of your relationship?
When you’re at work, act appropriately.

Behave discreetly in the workplace. Keep public displays of affection off limits when at work.

Maintain your regular office routines. That goes for email and phone use.
If your position and responsibilities require you to work together, attend the same meetings, and so forth, then make sure you behave professionally at all times. For example, be yourself, maintain and speak your opinions, exhibit the same skills, and conduct yourself in the same manner as you did prior to the relationship.

Should your relationship become permanent, be happy and build a successful romance that adds value to you both, your community and happiness to your life all through the years.

Source: WomenWorking



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