- Prohibited by Policy?
- Dealing With Personal Relationships at Work: Dating at Work
- Dealing With Personal Relationships at Work: Dating at Work | Edward Lowe Foundation
- Manager & Employee Dating
More than one-third of all employees meet their future partners while on the job, and for many, dating officemates is part of a balanced work life. Office romances aren't a business liability as long as there are policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees' personal lives remain personal and their work professional. The company should also have a policy regarding sexual harassment. In this Quick-Read you will learn: The pros and cons associated with workplace romances. Strategies for managing in-office relationships. Factors that identify sexual harassment.
A rule forbidding fraternization of co-workers is deemed by most to be invasive, inappropriate and unnecessary. Worry not about curtailing the office romance but about maintaining office professionalism and productivity. Recognize that romantic relationships between staff members may have a negative impact on job performance. The exclusive nature of a romantic relationship, if recognized, can threaten the involvement of other team members and lead to claims of favoritism or discrimination. Personal problems between the couple can cause strain and difficulties with on-the-job communication, or lead to claims of stalking or harassment.
A public break-up could cause other employees to "choose sides," creating tension for the whole office. Avoid these problems by focusing on employee job performance. With the help of a lawyer and your human resources team, establish some workplace guidelines that specifically define what will happen if performance standards are not met and state how claims of sexual harassment are handled. Make sure all your employees are aware of these policies.
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Here are some strategies for managing romantic relationships in the office: Establish a rule that prohibits an employee from supervising a person they are dating. Encourage everyone to disclose romantic relationships that fall into this category so adjustments can be made to avoid the related risks. Perhaps a change could be made in the reporting or organizational structure.
List any jobs where romantic relationships could jeopardize the safety or integrity of other staff members and make the involved employees aware of those potential risks. For example, a human resource manager dating a department head could be perceived by others as a potential breach of confidentiality. Talk to employees about job expectations and consequences if performance falters for any reason. Focus on creating a positive office environment for all employees. This includes developing an atmosphere of trust and respecting the private lives of employees.
Encourage them to live balanced lives.
Prohibited by Policy?
Make it clear to employees that personal lives should be orchestrated outside of the workplace. Flirting or romantic overtures should not happen at work.
Communicate your concerns to employees when their personal actions cause professional problems or questions. Allowing the romantic behavior in the office to persist causes strain, tension and discomfort for other employees. It can also lead to complaints of favoritism and discrimination. Foster communication with your employees without judgment. Don't pry or question unless you notice performance problems.
Dealing With Personal Relationships at Work: Dating at Work
In many cases, disclosure of their dating relationship can help you create a more productive workplace while minimizing any conflict of interest. Keep in mind that office romances are not limited to coworkers. Your employees may also be dating your clients, vendors or even employees of your competitor. Make sure your office dating policy anticipates these situations — an acrimonious split between an employee and a supplier, for example, could result in late shipments, production delays or other problems for the whole company.
Avoiding sexual harassment Flirtation becomes sexual harassment when employee A refuses employee B's invitations or advances and B persists by asking A out again. Sexual innuendos, jokes or inappropriate physical contact can also be considered harassment.
Dealing With Personal Relationships at Work: Dating at Work | Edward Lowe Foundation
In fact, some organizations have policies that prohibit these types of relationships. Employers have a reason to worry. In , more than 13, sexual harassment claims were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Even if policies don't prohibit these relationships, this is a consideration that whoever is in the power position needs to consider seriously. Any kind of favoritism toward one employee over others is obviously a concern in the workplace.
Manager & Employee Dating
More than 70 percent did not have formal written or verbal policies dealing with romantic relationships. However, the numbers changed sharply when the dating relationship changed from being between co-workers to being between manager and subordinate percent believed that relationships between superiors and subordinates should be prohibited.
Even in environments where relationships are permitted in the workplace between managers and subordinates, those involved in these relationships need to maintain a professional distance while on the job. Not all relationships last forever, of course, but if and when the relationship between manager and subordinate ends, the work relationship may need to continue.
That can be uncomfortable for both parties as well as for co-workers. Leigh Richards has been a writer since Her work has been published in "Entrepreneur," "Complete Woman" and "Toastmaster," among many other trade and professional publications.