The office is not just a place of business and professional toil, it’s also become a venue for individuals to meet and make romantic connections. It’s not supposed to be that way, of course, in fact in previous years most companies would have policies against this sort of thing, but recently more and more companies have become forward thinking.
Realising that work is where you spend majority of your time, it’s only logical that office romances will eventually spark off.
According to a study done by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Wall Street Journal, an estimated 40 percent of employees said they have had a work romance at one point or another in their careers.
So if this is to be an unavoidable occurrence, there should be some guidelines to follow if you do find yourself getting romantically involved with a coworker.
Is it ever okay to have a relationship with a superior?
No, don’t date your boss. It’s never ever a good idea to get involved with someone in a management position. There are certain prejudices against people who are romantically involved with their boss. Naturally people would start to question any interaction between the two of you and any promotions/raises that may result.
In that same sentiment you shouldn’t date your employee either. As it would be difficult for a subordinate to consent to a relationship with a supervisor because of the inherent pressure and influence of his or her advances.
Rules to having a successful office romance?
- Be familiar with your organization’s written and unwritten policies about romance in the workplace.
- Communicate in a strictly professional manner at work, meaning no flirting in the office. Save the romance for your private time.
- Work e-mails should also remain professional and never contain romantic or intimate messages.
- No public displays of affection in the office.
- Be very discrete about your relationship, until you are ready to go public with it.
- No favouritism. Which means don’t hesitate to express different opinions and conduct yourself in the same way you did before the relationship. If you always challenged your partner’s ideas, continue to do so.
- Understand the risks if things don’t go well. The reality is that if you can’t separate work from your personal life, one of you may have to change your job.
How to stop unwanted advances/affection
Unwanted advances might appear quite subtle and innocent at first, nothing too much to worry about, but things can escalate quite quickly. It’s important not to ignore it as we spend a lot of our time at work and situations cannot be allowed to get out of hand.
Unfortunately disregarding their initial attempts may only lead them to believe that it is acceptable behaviour. Which is why it is important to make your disinterest known by speaking with them directly, especially if they are beginning to overstep their mark. It may be hard to do, but it is essential.
You could say something to this effect:
“Whilst I feel flattered by all this attention, it does make me uncomfortable and I would like it to stop as it is affecting my work.”
Ultimately you should always feel comfortable to say ‘No’ this is your right and will prevent you from potentially hurting yourself or your career.
In conclusion office romances in spite of policies are a reality. The important thing to do is not let your personal life affect the quality of your work. Keep it professional and keep it private.
So, if you happen to find love at work, stay in balance, stay in focus, and stay appropriate. Active management is essential if you want to keep your career, and not just your love life, on track.