Workplace Romances: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Approximately 1/3 of our life is spent at work.

Let’s face it, most of us spend more time with our coworkers than at home. It’s no surprise then that romantic relationships can form beyond 9-5 small talk.

The good

Surprisingly, there can be some benefits to workplace romances.

  • Office energy – It can boost workplace energy, leading to better communication between teams and more creativity.
  • Motivation – Some employees feel more motivated due to wanting to break the stereotype that workplace romances cause disruption.
  • Cooperation – If couples are based in different departments, it can encourage teamwork and cooperation between teams.

The bad

As many of us have seen, it can also go very wrong, very quickly.

  • PDA – Sometimes couples can get a bit too comfortable, meaning other staff may feel uncomfortable. If you don’t have policies in place already that cover this, it may be something worth thinking about.
  • Arguments – We’ve all had an argument with our partner at one time or another, but what if you had to come into work and pretend nothing’s happened? Unfortunately, arguments at home will most likely cause issues with couples who have to work in close proximity From loss of productivity, to an overall bad temperament within the workplace.
  • Breakups – The thing we always think won’t happen to us. Whether they are mutually decided or not, breakups make for an awkward environment. In fact, they can lead to an exact opposite of all ‘the good’ aspects of when they were together.

The ugly

And finally, the things we all dread. The things that are an absolute HR disaster.

  • Seniority – As much as you can try and prevent it, boss-employee relationships do happen. These are arguably the most risky of all relationships that can happen in the workplace due to the seriousness of potential consequences. Where do you draw the line between someone being your boss and also your partner?
  • Confidentiality – Naturally, different roles and teams have access to different information, some of which is confidential. Often, people in relationships may feel that it is okay to share this with their partner, or may even share it accidentally. This can cause major issues within a business and even lead to dismissal.

How to prevent issues occurring due to workplace relationships

  • Put in place a clear written policy surrounding workplace romances and the procedures in place to safeguard the staff and the company.
  • Communicate any new policies with staff and explain why it is being done. Reassure your employees they won’t be penalised for being in a relationship.

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