In the past, office romance was not allowed. As time goes by, the companies have become lenient with this matter, and they even formulated a policy about it. These days workplace romance can result in a lifetime relationship. However, this situation can make your co-employees uncomfortable.
Companies that continue to follow the traditional policy regarding work romance may cause the people involved to lose their job. Sometimes one of you will be asked to resign.
Getting in love with your co-employee is not surprising since you spend most of your time at work. Some people develop a deeper feeling that they eventually fell in love with each other.
Based on the survey conducted by the job site Vault.com, 58% of employees fell in love with their colleagues and eventually lead to a romantic relationship.
Most of the office relationships can result in issues, making it hard for the couple to decide.
Office romance remains a significant issue, mainly if it involves a boss and his subordinate. Because of the long hours spent in the office, they become closer to each other and eventually build a deeper relationship.
However, some conflicts and issues might arise that you have to deal with.
Problem #1 – Who Will Stay and Who Will Resign?
Most companies do not allow an intimate relationship in the working area. One of the common reasons companies have this policy is that the relationship can significantly affect their work.
As a result, the couple needs to decide who will stay and who will resign.
At present, around 24% of employees reported that they are involved romantically with their co-employee. Take note the statistics are based on the reported relationship. Some keep their relationship secret, so it will not affect their work.
Around 54% of organizations do not have a clear policy about office romance.
But in 2013, more organizations included office relationships in their policies to make it clear to their employees what is allowed and what is not. Also, 21% of employees were prompted to resign because of office romance.
You can avoid this issue by taking note of the following:
- Know the company policy about office romance
Before you start courting someone in the office, make sure the company policies are clear to you. Some office policies are not clear, so you must read them carefully, and if possible, you can talk to someone from HR about this.
Some companies are very particular with office relationships and may have stricter policies. If it is against the company’s rules, think, and ask yourself – is having a relationship in the workplace worth it or not?
Even if it is allowed in the workplace, be discreet, and you must know the consequences. Some companies may ask you to sign a contract, inform co-workers or managers, or stick with the rules or guidelines.
- Be sure about the relationship.
Before getting into a relationship, you must determine if it is for real or just an infatuation. Are you just having this relationship because you have been working together on a project day and night?
Perhaps you are just unhappy with your boss, and you need someone to talk to. You must know the answer to these questions before you get into a romantic relationship.
It might seem strange to question this, but trust me, there was one time during an office party I somehow got the chance to speak with our COO who was drunk AF, I asked him his opinion about Office Romance – to which he said its good if it works out, but if it does not work out then its a fu*king nightmare! Imagine bumping into the same person every day after the breakup, it stings! (He told me the whole story of his office romance experience, but let’s not deviate, will park this story for some other day…)
- Maintain professionalism
Make sure your relationship with your colleague will not affect the efficiency and quality of your work.
If you want to hide your relationship and agreed not to broadcast it in the office, maintaining professionalism is the best thing to do.
Consider the people around you. Your colleagues might feel uncomfortable whenever you two are around. If your boss or your co-employee noticed that the relationship affects your work, you might be asked to end your romance, or worst you will be forced to resign.
Keep in mind your co-workers might be guarding you for bias. You would not want your co-employee to think that you agree with her because you are dating her.
Avoid displaying your affection with each other, particularly during meetings. You don’t have to be together always.
Problem #2 – Torn Between Work and Relationship
You have to keep in mind that your romantic relationship is different from a working relationship. If you are at work, both of you need to act as co-workers.
A study conducted by Zety.com shows that around 54% of in-office romance said nothing changed. Others said that their working relationship had improved a lot, while 18% said it had affected their working relationship.
Some couples are torn between their relationships and career. Deciding which one to give up is quite a challenging task.
You can either leave the company or change departments. But based on the same study done by Zety.com, around 57% of couples decided not to quit, 15% said one of them leave, and 10% both quit their jobs.
Getting involved with your co-worker is sometimes hard to resist. Many agree that it is a bad idea, but some say it is a good idea. Here are some tips for balancing your work and relationship.
- Consider your co-workers
Are your co-workers affected by your relationship? If you cannot hide or keep your relationship discreet, make sure that no one is affected by it.
No matter how you avoid gossip in the office, people around you will always talk about it.
Let your work performance cover-up for it, and make sure not to gossip because it will result in a toxic working area. Always consider your co-workers when in the office. Some are not comfortable seeing their co-employees smooching while working.
- Set boundaries
You have to set boundaries. Inside the office, you are not a couple. You are co-workers, and you should act that way.
As a couple, you can show your affection for your significant other without limitations.
It means that you have to treat her or him the same way you treat others in the office. This will set boundaries and keep your relationship outside. It is a sign of showing respect to your co-employees and to the company you are working with.
- Relationship problems should not interfere with your work.
In any relationship, you cannot avoid conflicts and issues. It may be hard for you and your significant other, especially if you are in the same department.
Make sure that you have talked about it ahead of time, so you can deal with it accordingly when the time comes and will not affect your work.
When the time comes that you need to decide between work and a relationship, you have to weigh the situation well so you will not regret it.
Problem #3 – Telling Your Boss and Colleagues About the Relationship
To tell or not to tell – that is the usual problem many office relationships are dealing with. Generally, you are not required to inform HR about your relationship. However, if the company has a stricter policy about office romances, you should assess the situation and determine when to tell your co-employees and bosses.
If you think it can affect your work position, it’s better to keep it between you and your significant other. Keep everything as private as you can.
If your co-employee asks you about it, you can tell them that you prefer to discuss work only.
If your co-workers caught you outside, you can tell them the truth. Stress to them that you are keeping it discreet so as not to affect their work. So, it means that if they are at work, they are co-workers. If your colleague tried to spread rumors in the office, then don’t get distracted.
Rumours are rumours at the end of the day if you can keep things descreet.
Below are few steps that should help –
- If you can, do not hide it.
This is a hard decision to make but if you can, and the company allows it, tell your boss and co-workers about the relationship.
You don’t have to tell them right away, perhaps after several months of your relationship. Why does it have to be after several months? This way, you can prove them and show that the relationship will not affect your work.
Telling them reduces awkwardness and can boost the likelihood that they will be positive about it. Besides, no matter how you try to make it discreet, they will still figure it out. You will also gain the trust of your co-employees if you are honest with them.
Inform them in a simple and straightforward manner.
Inform your boss first. Sometimes your co-workers are too eager that they will tell your boss without asking for your permission. It can have a negative impact on your boss, so it is best to say to your managers first.
They might decide to transfer one of you to other departments to avoid conflicts for a stricter company.
- Sign a Love Contract
If the company offers a love contract, both of you will benefit from this. A love contract means your employer acknowledges your intimate relationship and that your relationship with your co-employee is consensual.
The contract includes a reminder for you to whom to turn to in case of conflict of interest.
The love contract’s goal is to protect both the employee and the employer from litigation in case of sexual harassment. Once the couple signs the love contract, it will give the employer peace of mind that they understand the policies.
If it ends, they can terminate the contract and make sure it will not affect their work.
Some of the terms included in the love contracts are as follows:
- Confirmation that the relationship is consensual and voluntary.
- Anti-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment rules: There should be a clear statement about sexual harassment and discrimination. Include contact information on where to ask for help.
- Details about inappropriate conduct policies. This policy covers untoward conduct that can address the expectation that a relationship will not affect your co-workers or the work, concerning public display of affection and assure professionalism.
Employers must set enough policies, procedures, and training to deal with the things that might be affected by the office romances. The guidelines should also apply in the context of relationships between subordinates and managers.
If you are involved in such a situation, you should know your rights, and you should act appropriately to avoid conflicts that can lead to losing your job.
If you are not yet into any relationship with your co-worker, you should know the consequences of getting into it. If you can handle the issues and conflicts and not affect your career, you don’t have to stop yourself from having an office romance.
Ensure you know the company’s policies when it comes to having an intimate relationship with your co-worker.
The safest way to handle an office romance is to be honest with it and learn how to separate work from your relationship. You should prioritize your work during office hours and keep your work in the office when you leave your job.