Romance In The Workplace: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Despite all the cautionary tales regarding the dangers of office romance, countless employees wind up in relationships with co-workers every year. And as you might expect when two people try to maintain both a business and emotional relationship — while spending virtually every waking hour together and keeping the whole thing a secret — workplace dating often ends in tears. But when this person is a work colleague, you may still have to maintain a professional relationship no matter how badly things end. Depending on the circumstances, failing to do so could cost you a raise, a promotion — or even your job. Of course, warnings about the dangers of workplace dating and office hookups are nothing new. Yet, despite this, co-workers continue to wind up in bed together, restrictions and warnings be damned. So if workplace dating is such a bad idea, why do employees keep doing it? Is it because the stress of working together creates a unique bond between people? Or that as employees work longer hours, the office has become the only available place to meet people?

When does a consensual workplace relationship become an employer’s business?

Question marks over whether consensual workplace relationships are ever OK have come to the fore this week after the high-profile firing of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. Experts say there are no hard and fast rules, however, when it comes to policy and policing of romantic relationships within organizations. The firing of Easterbrook, announced Sunday , has served as a timely reminder to workers of the pitfalls of workplace relationships — however consensual they may be — and it’s no surprise that most people prefer discretion when it comes to romance in the workplace.

Whatever the corporate dating policy is, the underlying message to senior avoid dating someone at work whatsoever, according to workplace.

Workplace relationships might not seem like a pressing issue. Sure, office romances have been known to crop up and sometimes even cause issues, but, surely, it’s not so prevalent a phenomenon, right? That might not be the case, according to a survey conducted by Vault. And as workers get older, the likelihood of participating in such a workplace relationship increases: 72 percent of workers age 50 and older reported having at least one romantic workplace relationship during their career.

Given how common office romances are, it’s important to have a clearly established company policy that is communicated to employees explicitly. When 40 percent of office romances became serious, long-term relationships or even marriages, they have the potential to impact the work of not just the people in the relationship but also their co-workers. Workplace relationships don’t have to be a negative for productivity or workplace culture, but they do have to be managed properly to avoid problems.

Office romances carry all the potential risks and rewards of typical relationships, except with an added layer of risk. Closely blending the professional and personal in such an intense way could be a recipe for disaster. While these conflicts stem from a personal relationship, they can impact a business as well, putting office romances squarely in the scope of management’s purview. In most cases, managers and employers can mitigate the potential negatives of workplace relationships with a well-established set of policies that are clearly communicated to employees.

How to Approach an Office Romance (and How Not To)

Join InHerSight’s growing community of professional women and get matched to great jobs and more! Already have an account? As many as 27 percent of single Americans say they have met potential dates at the office, and some 15 percent report meeting their current spouse or partner at work, according to research by ReportLinker.

Love in the workplace can be tricky to navigate successfully. So, is dating a coworker ever a good idea? Dating coworkers is usually not encouraged.

As an HR consultant, I can’t help but cringe when I see individuals act out in the workplace when a romantic relationship doesn’t work out. I totally understand that​.

Fraternization in the workplace is not uncommon. Employees may work together in small offices on specific projects. Spending extended time together and having daily interaction with each another may lead to a natural progression, in which a friendly relationship between coworkers can develop. Of course, business leaders want employees to get along. Positive employee interactions form the foundation of a positive corporate culture, and boosts employee morale.

However, if relationships extend beyond basic friendship, and some employees begin to date each other, relationships can sour quickly. The dangers of fraternization in the workplace has led to specific non-fraternization policies, which are issues that business leaders need to address. Fraternization is the interaction between co-workers that extends beyond business relationships. Your employees probably spend as much time with each other as they do with their family, if not more.

With time spent together every day, it isn’t uncommon for co-workers to learn about common interests, hobbies and sports. As people realize they have common interests, friendships can develop, and it isn’t uncommon for employees to engage in activities with one another after hours. Usually, fraternizing as friends has positive ramifications for the business.

Danger: Office romance ahead

The effect of dissolved workplace romances on the psychosocial functioning and productivity of the employees involved. This paper reports on research that explored the effects of dissolved romances on the psychosocial functioning and productivity of the employees involved at an industrial clothing factory in Cape Town in Also explored is the consequent need for appropriate intervention through the existing Employee Assistance Programme EAP.

We weigh the pros and cons of dating a coworker. What to know about your workplace and how to approach love in the office. More articles ›.

Ahh, Monday morning; that annoying time to get up early, schlep into the office and get back to the stresses of the job. Who looks forward to that? An office romance may make Monday mornings easier and more fun. But is adding a bit of excitement to your work life worth the risk? This article looks beyond the first heady weeks of office romance and gets down the nitty gritty.

Before you accept the offer of a date from that cute new guy in accounting, learn a little more about navigating the minefield of workplace romance. These days, people spend the bulk of their time at work, which makes the temptation to start an office romance strong. After all, these are the people you see everyday. You have a lot in common with them. When you spend this much time with someone, you get to know them on an intimate, day-to-day level.

Love and work: The ins and outs of dating a co-worker

Having a healthy employee dating policy in place to provide a framework for acceptable behavior and to protect the company and its workforce against problems is vital, and this policy should form part of your company culture and be understood by everyone on your team. While most companies might prefer that their employees don’t date each other in order to avoid problems in the workplace and the potential risk of things turning nasty if the relationship breaks down, blanket bans on dating colleagues rarely serve any meaningful purpose other than to encourage couples to keep things under the radar if they do find love in the office.

However, having an employee fraternization policy in place within your company or organization can help to provide clarity, guidance, and boundaries for interoffice dating among colleagues, plus it can ensure that relationships don’t have a negative impact on the participants themselves, their other colleagues, or the company as a whole. Employee fraternization is defined as a relationship that falls outside of normal work-related interactions and communications, which is usually but not necessarily romantic or sexual in nature.

Employee fraternization won’t automatically have a deleterious effect on the company or other colleagues that work with the couple in question, but it can be problematic, particularly if there is an innate imbalance of power between the participants, such as if a supervisor dates a subordinate.

What are some of the workplace issues that can arise when supervisors and Policies that prohibit all employees from dating any other employee are difficult to enforce Nothing presented on this site or in this article establishes or should be​.

Credit: Tanya Lake. A survey from CareerBuilder revealed that nearly 40 per cent of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a co-worker, and almost one-third of office relationships result in marriage. The fact of the matter is: nobody knows when true love will strike. Credit: Marco Del Grande. Certainly there are endless cases of co-workers who have found love in the workplace and moved on to marry and live happily ever after.

Ultimately, she says, the success of this path will depend on you, your partner, boss, workplace, and many other variables. And it’s also a problem if you deserve to be promoted but your significant other doesn’t offer you the position because they fear people will think it’s an act of favouritism. Keeping your distance in another department, floor or building will help keep things less awkward, messy, and challenging. Some firms make a conscious choice not to incorporate them into their general “sexual harassment” policy.

That must always prevail. Do you have a lot in common? It could happen that spending time in a romantic relationship that began at work will bring you closer together because you share a common interest and can be a sounding board for each other.

Employee Dating Policy

Puja is nearly at the year mark in her career as a B2B and B2C content writer and editor. Her degree in English Literature directed her focus to making complex ideas accessible and relatable to a larger audience. It is this proficiency that she brings to HR Technologist as Editor. While she could comfortably spend all day working with words, Puja remembers to make time for her other great loves – doodling in her sketchbook and perfecting her hand-lettering. Jake and Amy, Jim and Pam, are examples of cute office romances blessed by their companies, albeit on television.

It’s not just executives who are treating the workplace as a daytime dating pool. Recent surveys demonstrate that more than one-half the.

Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e. Workplace romances may lead to accusations of poor judgment, ethical breaches, favoritism and harassment. Employers are also aware of the risks of decreased productivity and employee morale. Agreements may be between peers or between employees of different levels in the organization.

Experts say the reasons for asking employees to sign a consensual relationship contract include:. Decreasing sexual harassment litigation risk. If a workplace romance fails, one employee may claim to have been pressured into the relationship, particularly if one of the employees is in a higher role in the organization than the other. A consensual relationship contract, signed after the relationship has commenced, can effectively refute such claims by providing compelling evidence that both employees entered the relationship voluntarily.

Reducing perceptions of favoritism. Favoritism—or the appearance of it—is not just poor employee relations. In some cases, it is a cause for harassment lawsuits. Openness about the existence of the relationship allows management to be alert for behavior that may hint of favoritism.

Employer Do’s/Don’ts of Workplace Dating

The HR director looked up in surprise. And by the way, she did not end it. I did. The man was terminated because his employer had a strict no-dating policy for supervisors and subordinates.

This article was published more than 6 months ago. Where there is no policy condemning workplace dating, I still often counsel employees to.

While sometimes you can’t help falling in love, you can help how you react if the relationship goes south. Oh the quandary of workplace dating: should I, or shouldn’t I? As an HR consultant, I can’t help but cringe when I see individuals act out in the workplace when a romantic relationship doesn’t work out. I totally understand that these types of situations stir up strong emotions that can be tough to handle, but acting out against an individual will only make you look bad.

While there is some truth to the whole “you can’t help who you love or like ,” you can choose how you react to the situation if a relationship goes south. I’m not implying you shouldn’t date in the workplace. I have dated co-workers in the past and have many friends who have married their co-workers. However, if you do consider dating a co-worker, it’s worth it to take a moment and think about what the consequences could be if you do so.

In some states, privacy laws can prevent employers from prohibiting co-workers from dating, but when possible, many companies have policies prohibiting dating in the workplace because of the fallout that can occur.

The Debate Over the Prohibition of Romance in the Workplace

Workplace romances make good headlines. Two years earlier, Harry C. Stonecipher was forced to resign the presidency of aerospace giant Boeing over a relationship with a Boeing executive. This spring, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz was forced out after being accused of arranging a big raise and promotion for a woman he was having a relationship with.

The dilemmas are acute in family controlled businesses, when a founder choosing a successor must decide whether to favor a son or daughter or search outside for what may be better qualified managers.

Workplace relationships are unique interpersonal relationships with important implications for Also, women are more likely to receive negative images than men for dating a superior. Those involved, however Namespaces. Article · Talk​.

Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way e. Although this policy does not prevent the development of friendships or romantic relationships between co-workers, it does establish boundaries as to how relationships are conducted during working hours and within the working environment. Individuals in supervisory or managerial roles and those with authority over others’ terms and conditions of employment are subject to more stringent requirements under this policy due to their status as role models, their access to sensitive information, and their ability to affect the employment of individuals in subordinate positions.

This policy does not preclude or interfere with the rights of employees protected by the National Labor Relations Act or any other applicable statute concerning the employment relationship. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page. Policies Employee Dating Policy.

Dating In The Workplace