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Roses are red… Are you taking your co-worker to bed?

4th February 2019

It’s the month of love, for those who work with their life partner has it all been plain sailing? Did the romance start at work? Or have you decided to work together after this all came about? What went wrong what went well? Questions that people just starting out in an office romance are asking and employers want to know how to avoid any pitfalls if they can.

Whatever way you cut this, the office romance can be a source of work place tensions, and not just for those involved. For a start there may be internal policy governing workplace relationships – before embarking on such a journey it’s always worth checking this out and what it could potentially mean if things were to go wonderfully or equally sour. Nothing worse than being in the cross hairs of cupids bow to find out that’s not the only thing potentially being fired!

Not all employers write this kind of thing into their handbook, this may well be unprecedented especially if it’s a small business that has so far gotten by with an informal approach. So where do you stand then?

Being discreet is key – don’t get gooey in the office however tempting it may be. Keep it professional. Not everyone wants to see you googly eyed or slapping a backside over the photocopier (cliché I know but it happens.). Making the rest of the workforce feel like they are the third wheel or gooseberry in your relationship will not be appreciated so keep it out of the workplace full stop.

Be mindful of the impact this relationship may have on your colleagues – this type of workplace relationship can have a wide-reaching impact on other colleagues especially if they class both of you as friends. Even if things are all going really well professional confidences may be called into question leading to an internal breakdown of communication. This most definitely will not go down well with senior management, when things create waves on the bottom line don’t expect the rest of the week to go quietly. Also, you want to maintain your professional credibility. The death of this will outlast the breakup if it ever comes to that and losing professional credibility may have further reaching career implications than you thought.

Time off can be a sticking point as well – wanting the same time off may not be possible or may create tensions with colleagues – just be mindful of what you want to do and give plenty of notice to avoid people getting upset.

Dating above your rank… If one of you is in a more senior position this may have more of an impact than you first thought. If you are more senior, you may hold more confidential information your credibility will be under scrutiny far quicker than anything else. This is where it is vital you check internal policy, if at the very least to allay management fears that confidential still means confidential. Avoiding favouritism is another key thing to watch or equally even worse, being extra tough just to make the point there is no favouritism!

What should you do as a business owner? Unless you have a policy in place there isn’t much unless rules have actually been broken however a candid conversation and outlining what you expect from all parties wouldn’t go amiss. With 30% of these relationships turning into something serious the last thing you want is to lose great talent. A well-managed team should be able to weather all sorts including the odd office romance but when you think you might be in trouble you may need some outside advice and guidance.

Still not sure? Give me a call on 01424 851 871 for a free no obligation chat. Let’s talk…