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Beware – Workplace Cupid!

January 29th, 2016

So I for one am looking forward to February as I challenged myself to #DryJanuary !! and as the 1st Feb is a Monday I will just have to have a glass (or two) on a school night which is usually a big no no, but as my good friend pointed out January 2016 has 5 weekends so I think I could be forgiven this time!!

As February approaches, so too does Valentines day, and the usual offers for flowers, dinner and hotel deals are clogging up our mailboxes! This gave me some inspiration to write about workplace relationships.

It is hardly surprising that many relationships blossom in work since it is where we spend a great deal of time and get to know people in a safe, friendly place. However it is a potentially difficult environment which can test the boundaries between personal and professional relationships. In the best cases it can work really well but in the worse it can leave colleagues feeling uncomfortable and if not handled properly gossip leads to talk of “conflict of interests” and “unprofessional behaviour”.

It is also a tricky one for Companies to manage, they may seek to outline their guidance on, not only romantic relationships but also sometimes policy on family relations working together. Whilst this may seem heavy handed (and possibly contrary to Human Rights) there are some fairly straightforward and fundamental rules which employees would be well advised to follow if dating someone at work:

  • They are personal relationships – be discreet; maintain professionalism; keep private lives outside work.
  • Your employer will expect standards of behaviour – so canoodling in the store cupboard or flirting at the coffee machine are not appropriate and may land you in hot water if behaviour is offensive to others.
  • Come clean, if you are involved with a colleague, then speak to your manager and assure them that it will not affect your (or your partners) performance or the office dynamics, speak to your other colleagues assuring them that things shouldn’t change (if you don’t do this your behaviour will give you away and they will suspect the relationship as there are some major signals! and you’ve lost the opportunity for honesty and integrity).
  • If, however, you have fallen for your boss, this could compromise both your positions given the risk of the perception of unfair advantage, #justsaying !

On a final note, workplace relationships really can work, I met my husband in work and we have been together 10 years in April! We adhered to all of the advice above and were very careful to ensure professional conduct at all times.

If you are facing this challenge as an employer and need help to outline your policies please get in touch, also why not sign up for our newsletter for regular updates on HR, Leadership, Management behaviour and much more.

Thanks for reading




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