Starting An Office Romance, Many Say Never and Yet They Thrive

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, I found that I just could not help myself.  I mean, after all, this is the month for Romance, both in and out of the office.  I always love to see all the people selling flowers on the street corners.  I love to watch both men and women scrambling to get those last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts for their spouses or dating partners.

General Facts Concerning Office Romances

In 2006, The Society of Human Resource Management conducted a study and found that 40% of employees had engaged in an workplace romance. Another study conducted by Vault.com found that 40 percent of the employees interviewed disclosed that they had met their mate either at or because of work.  Another study discloses that 76% of the employees questioned had either been aware of an office romance, or they had been involved in one themselves.

From the information above it is quite clear no matter how many of would rather this was not happening in the workplace it most clearly is. Now that we have identified that there is an elephant in the room, and we have also identified what that elephant is let’s spend the rest of the time with the article and check him out, maybe we can even feed him some peanuts.

Employers Responsibility

Office RomanceAll employers have a duty to preserve a professional work environment that promotes productivity, as well as an environment free from any form or Harassment or even a Hostile Work Environment.  Another area that employers have to give thought to is discrimination which could result if a supervisor is dating an employee that is under his or her charge and receives special assignments or favors because of their office romance.

It will not take long for fellow employees to notice when one employee is getting job assignments that they are not qualified to receive.  Once this happens employers may feel the heat quickly.

Establishing an Effective Company Dating Policy

Along with establishing an effective company dating policy, every employer should make sure that they are conducting annual Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Training.  This is true no matter how many or few employees that you have.  Making sure that you take the time to do sexual harassment training properly along with documentation that the training was done could save your company from a lawsuit.

Now back to developing an effective Company Dating Policy.

Disclosure: In your policy require that dating employees disclose to management that they are in fact dating or have become a couple.

Once an workplace romance has been discovered employees need to understand what kinds of behavior is acceptable and what is not. The goal here is to establish a policy that will allow the couple to date in a way that will not affect company employees in an adverse manner.

You also want to have a disclosure of a breakup.

Your policy should be firm when it comes to PDA’s. This kind of activity can become very distracting while the couple and other employee are working on projects together.

  • It is a good idea not to allow a manager or supervisor to date an employee that works directly for Your policy wants to state how the company expects the couple to handle the breakup.  This would be no retaliation is to be expressed by either party.  Also included would a clause that spells out there is to be no discussion of what happened or why the relationship came to a close
  • The PDA’s can also apply to online communication. So in conjunction with the workplace romance policy, you also want to have a very solid email policy as well.
  • You would also want to have a clause in the workplace romance policy that the relationship is consensual and that the company does not encourage office romance should they arise there are policies in place for the protection of all employees involved.
  • You would also want to encourage other employees to come forward if they become uncomfortable with what is going on. All of this is very important, and we be a big asset in the even that things go south which can happen very quickly when it comes to office flings.

Last but not least it is always wise to get legal counsel. This is very true concerning office romances because there is a potential for so many people to be effected.  You also want to make sure that your personal policies will keep you compliant with all state and local laws.

Things To Consider Before You Choose To Engage In A Workplace Romance

Are you married or involved with someone outside of the office? If the answer is yes, then pursuing a romance in the office is not in your best interest and adds to the potential fallout.

There are risks, have you taken the time to contemplate what those risks might be and are you prepared to suffer those risks including the possibility of losing your job or being part of the reason someone else may lose their job?

Co-workers that have to report directly to each other has a much lower success rate than those who work in another part of the company.

Should you decide to pursue this adventure, you need to be aware that there will be conflicts for there are always conflicts in every romance. But in this case, you owe it to yourself and the employee that you are either pursuing or dating to be professional.  Being professional means that you take the high road.  Don’t be gossiping or complaining to other employees for if you do this could damage office moral and the productivity of the company.  If you take the high road, there will be much more peace both for you and the person you are involved with.  Taking the high road will also ensure that other employees will not be drug into a place that they have no desire to go.

You need to give thought to what exactly do you want out of this office romance. Are you looking for a life partner or are you looking for some short term adventure. No matter what you are looking for it is going to be important for you to be honest with both yourself and your partner.

Does your company have an office romance policy and if they do are you aware of what is in it and are you prepared to abide by it? You have to understand that should you choose not to abide by your companies policy you may cost yourself your job and your partner may lose theirs as well.

The next thing to consider is are both of you willing or is one being pursued or pressured into something they may not want to do.

Once you have said, I do to an Office Romance

The purpose of this section of the article is to help employers that have determined that they do want to down this road how they can may the journey as safe and pleasurable as possible.

Develop a plan that will spell out what you will do if the relationship does not last. This way should a break-up happen the damage control will already be in place, and everyone will be able to move forward as easily as possible.

Number Two be professional, no PDA, and no long looks into each other’s eyes as you engage in the day’s activities. The best goal to shoot for is for anyone who does not know that you are a couple never to be able to tell that you are by your actions at work.

Do not draw attention to yourselves by having long lunches, or long meetings during the workday. And as far as privacy goes, you should have none at work.  Always keep the door open if you are together in the office.  Remember the less attention that you can draw to yourselves the better it will be for everyone.

Everyone likes to be the center of attention but to have your fellow employees talking about your office romance could cause you or your partner or the company much more pain than the momentary excitement of having everyone discussing your romance.

As stated earlier be professional don’t let your personal life detract from your work. Don’t start missing appointments or job deadlines.  Also, don’t forget to maintain other office relationships that you have established.  The more private you keep things, the more chance of success, you will have both with the relationship and your career.

In conclusion, the best thing that you can do should you find yourself in an office romance is to keep a level head.  Be professional in all areas of your behavior.  Continue to work hard and be a good employee.  Do your best to give your employees nothing to gossip about.  Remember to make sure that you have read the company romance policy and abide by it.

Sometimes these things do work but many times they don’t.  The tips that you have read in this article will help everyone from the company, your fellow employees, to you and your partner come out of this maybe even better then when you began this journey.