We spend an average of a third of our time with our co-workers, so it seems logical (if not just plain convenient) that romance may blossom. While these encounters may be full of excitement and passion at the start once they fizzle, it can become very very very uncomfortable and ugly for those involved especially if those involved are already married to others.
We have seen this play out over the past few weeks in the AFL, prior to that Seven West Media and also David Jones. While those involved in the relationships are both consenting adults in the above cases they also had wives/families who have now been humiliated by what has made media headlines.
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 these tips!
Have a company policy
Make sure your company has an air tight sexual harassment policy, disclosure policy and conflict of interest policy. This will ensure you cover off employees who are continually receiving unwanted advances from a co-worker, if co-workers are involved the disclosure policy will ensure you are aware of the situation and can make the required provisions and a conflict of interest policy will stop the issue of senior executives having romantic involvement with their EA’s which happens all too often!
Don’t let it affect your work
It is essential that you do not let your personal feelings affect your professionalism. How will dating a co-worker (or your boss) be seen by others in the workplace? Some will assume you receive special treatment, so be ready to deal with that. It could also affect your career progression because your boss (if that is who you are dating) might want to avoid the stigma of favouritism and hold you back to avoid it becoming an issue with other staff members.
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! The same goes for company mobile phones.
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 subordinates!
This is a bad idea! You could potentially open yourself up to a sexual harassment case if things go pear shaped. This is where it is essential to have a conflict of interest policy in place.
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