With most rational people avoiding any restaurants on Thursday 14th February and hearts, flowers and chocolates adorning shop windows everywhere, February is unavoidably the official month of Love.
The reality today is more and more time is spent in the office, so it’s no surprise that many working relationships blossom into something a little more intimate. A fact backed up by research found that 38% of workers have dated a colleague at some point in their working lives. One power couple that met in the workplace is Barack and Michelle Obama, back in 1989, the pair met whilst they were spending time working at the same law firm in Chicago.
However, as an employer, you’d be right to be a little cautious about what the implications could be for your business. If you are suspicious that there is an office romance going on or are concerned about the impact it could have on your team, if things go wrong, then consider the following advice.
Public displays of affection aren’t appropriate in the workplace. No one wants to see canoodling in the canteen, or have to navigate their way through locked lips just to get to the kettle. Luckily, most couples will know this already, and will often do everything they can to make sure that there are no awkward moments for their colleagues.
But if you do feel that boundaries are being crossed though, take action as soon as possible. Have a discreet word with both individuals: explain your worries, and remind them of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Sometimes things just happen
Don’t be the romance police and try and implement any kind of policy that bans romantic relationships between employees. It would be unreasonable to do so and it most probably wouldn’t act as a deterrent. If anything, you’d be doing the opposite by creating a culture of secrecy and mistrust.
The bottom line here is that these things happen, and as a leader, you have to accept it.
Consider The Team As A Whole
You’re probably not in the office all day long, every day of the week. So in many ways, you only get a very limited snapshot of what’s going on, and how everyone’s interacting on a day-to-day basis. This means that you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to monitoring sentiment.
Of course, this is a larger issue surrounding workplace culture, and it covers more than just office romances. Keeping your finger on the pulse and collecting insightful feedback from your employees regularly will ensure that you create a productive, motivated, and happy workforce – if, you take action on your findings.
Don’t take sides
Most people worry about the potential fallout of office relationships turning bad and it’s essential that you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario. Stay impartial, try to exercise a degree of understanding and sympathy, but make sure that you keep overall business objectives and priorities at the top of the agenda.
Remember, it’s vital that you recognise the difference between a break-up or something that is more sinister. A policy on a ban on relationships in the workplace isn’t advised, but your policies and procedures on serious matters such as sexual harassment and bullying should be communicated and always implemented. If you’ve got these important areas covered, any romance in the won’t leave you feeling stressed and uncertain about what to do for the best.
Make sure you are prepared for anything that your business might throw at you this year, HR Revolution can make sure you are ready, get in touch.