The six rules of office romance
Here’s some heart-shaped food for thought in the build up to Saint Valentine’s Day:
– Two thirds of Brits have been romantically involved with a colleague
– More than one in five (22%) who have had an in-office relationship, did so with their boss
– 59% of workplace relationships lead to resignation at work*
Seemingly, whatever HR or common sense dictates, love in the office will prevail. For all those want-to-be, have-been and/or soon-will-be (again) love birds out there, it’s time for Cupid to issue a code of conduct. Please read on for tips on how to navigate the storm/ delights of office romance, as published by The Guardian:
– Socialise outside work
Certainly in pre-Covid times, most of us spent more time with work colleagues than with our own families. With a strong sense of common purpose, and multiple opportunities to become close, cocktail hours on Friday nights were fraught with danger. If you feel Cupid getting uncomfortably close, start socialising more with your friends outside work immediately.
– Don’t cross the command chain
If you’re tempted to have an affair with your boss, factor in a potential career brick wall if it goes wrong. Bosses need to be equally careful. The legal implications of a relationship with someone further down the food chain are complicated and terrifying.
– Avoid becoming gossip fodder
If both employees are at the same level in the company, keep your romance as low-key as possible. You don’t want to be the target of gossip or feel uncomfortable at work. Above all else, don’t go anywhere near Facebook unless you’re ready to go public.
– Be fair
Make sure you treat everyone equally. The new love of your life may well be brilliant, but that doesn’t mean that he or she is always right. Leave your private life at home, and be professional, objective and fair at all times.
– Banish PDAs
Public displays of affection and emotional language are a big no-no in the office. Your relationship is private and you need to draw a clear line between it and its professional, office-based equivalent.
– Over and out
Be discrete when/if your relationship ends. Talking it through with colleagues is inappropriate and unfair (on all parties), and will make everyone feel uncomfortable.
Whatever form that old devil called Love takes in your workplace, your employees will be a strange old mix of squirmy and grateful for the above tips. With so much at stake, the squirm is well worth it.
* Source: HR Director