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Office Romances

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Office Romances Office Relationships

Office romances are one of the most taboo subjects surrounding the dynamics of an office environment and people can have very opposing views on the subject. It’s hardly surprising that people enter into relationships with work colleagues however, given that we probably spend more time at the office than we do in our homes during our waking hours these days. There are many things to consider and many questions which you’ll need to ask yourself first, before deciding whether or not to embark upon an office romance.

Furthermore, some companies have adopted policies which either forbid office romances altogether or they’ll have issued guidelines which couples must follow. Failure to adhere to their company rules can result in disciplinary action and, in some cases, has even ended up in dismissal. Therefore, if you are thinking about getting involved with a work colleague romantically, it’s worth finding out what the company’s attitude towards that might be and to find out if the company does have its own policy in place with regards to this issue.

Reasons Why Companies Can Disapprove

The main reasons which are given as to why companies disapprove of office romances are that it is often distracting, both to the couple involved and to the rest of the staff as well as sometimes resulting in production going down. It will get even more uncomfortable, and might also even make your position untenable, if either party is married or knowingly involved with someone else.

How It Can Affect Your Work Environment

If you decide to get involved with a work colleague, it’s usually better to be upfront about it at an early stage. Trying to keep it secret might be fun at first but it will soon wear you down and the close knit community of an office is a hard place to keep a secret. Failure to be open and frank about it can result in office gossip and even resentment. This becomes even more of an issue if you begin dating someone in a superior position to your own and even more so if you’re dating the boss. This situation could likely result in your colleagues starting to feel that you are being given favouritism and priority in certain areas and you could end up alienating yourself from the rest of your colleagues.

If you are the subject of idle gossip, the best thing to do is simply ignore it. People will soon become bored and if you rise to the bait, it could create a lot of conflict and awkward tension within the office. Likewise, keep the relationship separate from your work. Don’t go discussing it with one of your colleagues in the canteen no matter how much you might think of them as a confidante.

Office talk is cheap and intimate things you may have told a colleague in private will usually eventually become a subject to be shared amongst the rest of the staff. Make sure your work does not suffer and that your productivity remains high. If your boss or colleagues think that your work is suffering as a consequence of your relationship, they’ll be only too quick to point this out. If you’re the superior, don’t allow favouritism. This will be one of the issues that both your partner and their colleagues will be most concerned about. Things like a pay rise, promotion or extra time off need to be earned on merit and there will be a lot of resentment if you decide to treat your partner any differently from the rest of the staff. Don’t display your affection in public inside the workplace either and keep your conversations at work about work. Also, especially in a workplace with a limited amount of staff, it’s important that you don’t both take holidays at the same time where possible and be extra careful about being off sick or turning up late at the same time as these kinds of issues are likely to cause concern.

Think About the Possible Repercussions

We can all get a bit ‘giddy’ when we enter into a new relationship as we start living in the moment. Yet, in an office relationship, it’s important that we take a pragmatic view of the future and in terms of what the repercussions might be if things don’t work out. You’ll have no doubt heard countless tales of a person being fired by their ex-partner when a relationship has failed and if you are experiencing difficulties in the relationship, you need to consider how that might affect the atmosphere at work.

The fact is that office romances are simply a fact of life. It’s almost impossible to stop two people of the same mindset falling in love with one another. The important thing is to conduct the relationship in private and keep things strictly on a work footing in the office. Many successful marriages have started out as office romances and, if the heat gets too much, it may well be that one of you decides it’s more practical to take another job elsewhere to relieve the pressure.

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