Romance in the Workplace : Should you mix business and pleasure?
An interesting and lively discussion on BBC Radio Ulster Vinny Hurrell show last night with John Higgins, myself and as always the fab Vinny. The title is a bit of a giveaway. The office affair - is it ever a good idea and what should colleagues do? Enjoy the gossip, express horror or just ignore?
In case you missed the show, check out my key tips below or download the podcast at the end of the article.
Love affairs at work are nothing new, nor are the difficulties that can result.
Research would suggest that 20% of married couples meet at work and 76% of adults in the workplace either know someone who had an office romance or they had one themselves.
Looking at the glass half full, work romances don't always cause problems. Love and careers can co-exist. They can boost morale, improve workplace motivation and create happier employees.
Many workplaces shy away from a workplace 'dating' policy because employees may view it as an affront to their privacy. Contractual clauses forbidding workplace romance is unlikely to work and may result in losing some valued staff members. Therefore, a complete ban, whilst potentially necessary in some regulated environments, may not be in touch with the realities of the workplace and cause love affairs by stealth.
Instead, encourage employees to 'keep work and personal life separate, and to stay professional both when things are going well - and if they come off the rails.' (ACAS) Employee guidance can offer openness, consistency and fairness in creating a legal, ethical and harmonious workplace. For example, you may consider prohibiting supervisors from dating any employee who reports directly to them or that your expect employees to report a dating relationship to HR. You may also wish to be clear about the sanctions if any romance begins to have a negative affect on the workplace and performance.
With love affairs at work the stakes can be high when relationships go wrong. The collateral damage can be significant. Worth bearing in mind before firing cupids arrow.
For help developing HR Policies and Procedures then get in touch with Linzi Conway. Telephone +44 (0) 28 28 274434 or email email@example.com .
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