February is the month of love, but office romances can make the job workplace an uncomfortable place for fellow employees and employers. Let's look at office romances and the things you need to know before you bring your love life into your workplace setting.
Employers are taking steps to limit or restrict office romances. What are some of the current trends?
• Contracting (Employees are required to sign a formal contract that they will not date other employees within a facility, and stating the employer is free of any liability if a suit or disagreement arises between two employees)
• Employer restrictions (Employers note that there is a conflict of interest if two employees begin to date and insist that one employee must leave the department)
• Providing outside counseling (Employees are referred to outside professionals for assistance establishing boundaries and procedures to maintain appropriate role separations in their work and leisure life.)
What are some of the fears relating to office romances?
• Many employers and co-workers believe that office relationship diverts employees from focusing on work tasks.
• Many employees who date fear that these relationships will endanger to their own careers.
• Often romantic couples are discounted on the ladder of promotions.
• Conflicts in the office are generally more emotionally charged than normal office disagreements, and may tend to separate and polarize employees forced to “take a side” in a romantic battle.
If you can’t resist an office romance- what are some keys to success?
• Be prepared: Realize that co-workers may be hostile and there can be difficulties. Create a plan if things don’t go well in the relationship.
• Be direct: If the attraction is serious, speak directly about your interests and intentions. Make every effort to not allow your personal relationship interfere with your working relationship.
• Maintain appropriate behaviors: Keep romantic gestures away from work. Watch favoritism toward your partner and never bring fights to the office.
• Be professional: Continue to maintain a high level of work performance, and don’t lose sight of your professional responsibilities
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