February is the month of Love, yes it is all around, but is that a good thing when it’s in the office?
With around 15-20% of relationships starting at work, it is clearly going on! And couples that meet at work are most likely to end up getting married than relationships that start any other way, so it clearly is possible to get the work / life balance right.
Now I know lots of couples that met at work that have indeed gone on to live their happy ever after and I think it is because they really got to know each other and liked each other way before they probably even had any physical attraction. They would have had lots in common, I mean going out for a drink after work they would always have something in common to talk about wouldn’t they. But…I also know my fair share of couples who’s office romance ended in misery.
So what are the do’s and don’ts to make sure these fairy tale and/or nightmare relationships don’t upset the rest of the team?
Employers my advice to you:
Firstly is there something in your handbook that outlines company policy on internal relationships, if yes then tactfully apply the rules. If not then lay down some ground rules from the outset:
What goes on outside of work STAYS outside of work, don’t bring arguments into the office
No flirting especially in front of other staff it will only make them awkward
Public Displays of Affection are out of the question, they are to remain professional
No Secret liaison in store cupboard, their relationship MUST not affect their work and
Fornicating on the job is grounds for dismissal!
You might also want to point out some of the pitfalls that may lie ahead!
Other staff gossiping about them good and bad
What happens when (sorry if) it all goes wrong, they still have to work together
And if it really does start to affect their work or the work of others, what are the options for moving one of them? Whatever you do, don’t just dismiss the one that you think is less valuable to you as an employee the relationship has caused enough problems with a law suit as well!
And to those involved; my advice to you:
Keep it to yourselves and keep it away from the office. As tempting as it may be to just happen to make tea at the same time, share that secret joke, receive a constant stream of “you look great today” emails or flirt and giggle whenever you can… DON’T! Not all relationships work out, no matter how rosy they start and at the end of the day you both need your jobs.
Don’t get others to cover or lie for you, especially if your partner in crime is Married! These things always have a habit of getting out!
If things do start to get serious, consider yourselves whether it would be better for both your relation and your job if one of you were to move on before you are not given the choice
So if any of my advice works and you end up planning the biggest day of your life, just remember, I love a good wedding! I could be the Cilla of HR! for help and advise get in touch.