The Dangers of Office Romance - What should HR do?
All things are possible in this world, and it includes meeting your other half at the workplace. However, how does HR find a way to control, ensure that these relationships will not affect the environment in the workplace?
Colleagues do spend great amounts of hours together at the office, and this can incentive a potential love relationship. It has been found by “Approved Index Survey” that more than six out of 10 office workers have been involved in at least one office romance.
Although it is true that having happy people at work increases productivity, the reality is sooner or later there will be discussions, misunderstandings, and other issues that can affect directly the flow of work, many times even involving other colleagues in uncomfortable situations.
Some examples are quite typical:
- One of the lovers is promoted or already has a senior position that the other doesn´t. This can be extremely difficult to solve, which is why HR managers have to be informed in advance, so that they can either separate the couple into different projects or find other solutions to ensure integrity, helping to avoid favouritism.
- Taking time off from work together: which can add some pressure on the rest of the team. Here HR has to find a balance, not judging the couple for this but also ensuring some fairness among the team.
- Break-ups: obviously no one starts a relationship thinking that they will end it, but unfortunately it does happen and quite often. Here the emotional distress can affect immensely the course of the work of both parties, including the rest of the company. This situation is a great challenge for the HR managers, and it has been one of the major reasons why some companies simply do not allow the relationship in the first place.
- Harassment: some people might either misunderstand intentions or simply they “give it a try” and fall in unwanted advances. Sexual Harassment is an issue that needs to be treated with extreme care, and HR definitely has to find ways to educate the team to avoid any potential action towards that direction.
Having all this be an issue, some activities should be taken into consideration such as coaching and training of managers. This way they can learn how to deal with each other and be prepared for these challenges.
Informing the team about the rules is crucial especially insisting on how personal life and love life should not interfere in the workplace.