Workplace Romance: Wrong or Right?
By Chelse Benham
”Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.” - Unknown
The office affair can make a seducer, seductress and sinner out of people. In fact, workplace romance is so common, research indicates that one-third of all relationships begin at work. Often times they become the focus of intense gossip and may end badly creating disruption, disharmony and devastation in their wake.
“In our ‘Succeed in the Workplace’ workshop we stress that students need to focus on their career, their job and work culture. They need to have that squared away before ...view middle of the document...
What’s really motivating the affair? If you are bored or dissatisfied with your job, you may be turning to romance as a means of deflecting the deeper issues related to work satisfaction.
Know the company’s policy and stance on office romance. Your company may prohibit office relationships or turn a blind eye. It may require that you notify personnel and sign a “consensual relationship contract policy” that protects the company from being sued when things go sour.
Stay professional at all times. “Always stay professional,” Servantes said. “New employees shouldn’t look at their new job as a ‘singles club,’ because if they do, that could be bad for their career. If you can’t stay away from a romantic situation then act maturely. Don’t behave with the romantic party any differently than you would other co-workers while you are at work.”
Be aware of perception. “Don’t be seen as the person who dates everyone in the office,” Servantes warns. “And don’t ever date a supervisor either. People may feel that you receive special treatment because of it. It can cause others to alienate you.”
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a workplace romance survey among HR professionals in 1998. In it they discovered the main reasons for companies frowning on inner-office romance.
REASONS GIVEN WHY WORKPLACE ROMANCES ARE NOT PERMITTED OR ARE DISCOURAGED Source: 2001 SHRM®/CareerJournal.com Workplace Romance Survey
Of the Human Resource (HR) Professionals surveyed they felt it created:
* potential for claims of sexual harassment.
* lowered productivity by those involved in the romance.
* lowered morale of co-workers around those involved in the romance.
* an unprofessional situation in the workplace.
* potential for retaliation if the romance ends.
SHRM further discovered how employees felt towards office romance. PERCEPTIONS ON WORKPLACE ROMANCE Source: 2001 SHRM®/CareerJournal.com Workplace Romance Survey
Of the employees surveyed they felt:
* romance cannot/should not be between supervisor and subordinate.
* public displays of affection are/should be prohibited.
* those involved in the romance may/should not be in the same department.
* those involved in the romance must inform their supervisors of the relationship.
* romance cannot/should not be between employee and client/customer.
* those involved in the romance may/should not report to the same supervisor.
* romance cannot/should not be between employees of a significant rank difference.
* those involved in the romance may/should not work on the same projects.
* workplace romances are not/should not be permitted at our/any organization.
* romance cannot/should not be between employee and a vendor.
* romance cannot/should not be between employee and employee from a competitor.
When SHRM surveyed HR personnel and employees about the consequences of such fraternization the results weren’t equal. In...