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Office romance, should you do it?

“Love is in the air, everywhere I look around”. We spend more time with our work colleagues than anyone else so it seems logical that romance may blossom.  According to Business News Daily 30% of office romances end in marriage.  Saying this, some can end very badly and lead to a very awkward situation in the workplace.

If you have employees who are romantically involved or if you are involved with a co-worker you might want to have a think about the do’s and don’ts of office romances.

DO – have a company policy.

Make sure your company has an air tight sexual harassment policy.  You don’t want employees feeling uncomfortable because John Smith is asking for date’s every Friday afternoon.  If an employee is not receptive to an advance from another employee it should end there.  You may consider a policy specifically around dating co-workers.  Some company’s frown upon such activity where as others do not have an issue with it.

DON’T – let it affect your work

It is essential that you do not let your personal feelings affect your professionalism.  I once worked in a team with a married couple.  As managers we were sat in close proximity (I was sat in-between the couple) generally it was fine unless a lover’s tiff had occurred.  There was nothing more uncomfortable than starting the day with my latte listening to people bickering saying “I told you I don’t want to f*$cking talk about it!”

DO – set clear boundaries

Setting boundaries at the start of the relationship should avoid any uncomfortable break room domestics.  Talk about how you will behave in the workplace and if the relationship doesn’t work out.  This will help you maintain your professionalism and productivity.

DON’T – clog up your work email

Sending raunchy emails to each other via your work email system is a big no no.  Many companies can access employee’s emails or even worse, you could send it to the wrong person. Awkward!

DO – keep it professional

No PDA’s in the workplace.  Nobody wants to see you kissing and canoodling in the office, the lift or even the coffee shop downstairs.  This also applies to work functions so you may want to take it easy on the booze.  You don’t want to be left red faced because you and bae had a make out session at Friday night drinks.

DON’T – date your Manager/Boss

This is a bad idea!  Your co-workers may feel you get special treatment or get offered better hours, tasks or opportunities.  Also don’t date one of your own direct reports.  You could potentially open yourself up to a sexual harassment case if things go pear shaped. Remember the golden rule – don’t screw the crew!

I know sex in the workplace sounds like an exciting idea right?  We have all seen the movies where paperwork and stationary get thrown off the desk while two employees ravage each other.  Be mindful of security cameras or onlookers from other buildings.  There have been cases where employees have been terminated for such conduct.

So, still unsure if an office romance is a good idea?  Check out these celebrities who met in the workplace and make up your own mind.

  • Bill Clinton and Monika Lewinski
  • Barack and Michelle Obama
  • Bill and Melinda Gates
  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

If you need advice or help with office romance policies, give HR Gurus a call on 1300 959 560 and one of our highly experienced HR professionals will be able to assist you.

Written by resident HR Guru Natalie Bol

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