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OFW guide: How to handle office romance

February 20, 2013 1:30pm
There's a good reason why most people say office romance is a big no-no, especially if it's a supervisor to subordinate relationship.

However, even if there are rules prohibiting an office relationship, could you really stop two people from falling in love with each other?

The financial news site Inc. said, "Most people have very strong views on this subject. Those who are opposed argue that romantic attachments disturb the equilibrium of the workplace, interfere with professionalism, and unnecessarily confuse work and pleasure."

"Work-based romances do get complicated. But is work so important that you can expect those working for you to sacrifice their emotional well-being for it?" the report added.

There's a simple reason why office romance will never die —  it's easier to find a potential mate at work and people in a workplace tend to have similar interests, Inc. noted.

The report cited's survey showing that 39 percent of workers have dated a co-employee. Out of this number, 30 percent went ahead and got married.

To help love-stricken employees, Inc. compiled a list of do's and dont's.

(1) Keep it private

Making sure that the relationship is only known to both of you allows you and your partner to move freely in the office without being gossipped about.

"According to the survey, 35 percent said they had to keep their relationship under wraps. The acid question is: How will you feel about work if the relationship peters out? If it would be embarrassing or awkward, keep quiet until you're more confident," Inc. said.

So unless your relationship is already stable, it would be better not to reveal your relationship to everyone. You don't want to be the talk of the town if something wrong goes down the road.

(2) Work when at the office

It's tempting to skip work when your love interest is just around the corner. It's also more convenient if that person is just beside you as it allows you to spend more time with that person.

However, work must be the priority in the office because you're not paid to flirt at work.

(3) Don't lie

If people find out about your relationship, just admit that you are going out with a co-worker.

Doing so clarifies fact from rumor and releases both of you from the stranglehold of secrecy.

(4) Never go out with a superior

Dating your boss is wrong in many ways. Not only will your co-workers almost automatically accuse you of being the favorite, your partner will also be under fire for suspected favoritism.

If things go sour and you split ways, there's also the chance that your boss and former lover will fire you. You never know...

(5) Don't forget others

Being in love is wonderful especially if it's a new relationship with someone that you see everyday. It's just exciting and makes you happy every day.

This is why it's so easy to forget about everything else and just stay in love. However, once in a while you should also break free from work and love and go out with family and friends just to balance it all out.

What companies can do

But what if you're the manager of a company and you see that co-workers are starting to become closer to each other?

The business site “Entrepreneur” listed some tips to keep in mind in handling co-workers who are in a romantic relationship.

(1) Require disclosure

To keep everything under control, the first move is to require your employees to tell the upper management about any blossoming relationship.

This gives managers the position to get involved in solving issues like a supervisor dating a subordinate. They can then opt to transfer either of them for a smoother working relationship.

(2) Make them sign a love contract

The contract should make it clear what is expected of both employees who are dating each other. It should also state the do's and don'ts.

Furthermore, the contract should inform them of possible reprimands if their relationship becomes a cause of trouble.

(3) Flag PDA

Public displays of affection (PDA) such as touching and kissing must not be tolerated at the workplace. It should be made clear that the office is for work only.

PDAs will make the working environment awkward for other employees in the office. It also causes distractions – not to mention more gossip.

(4) Check on office opinion

Being aware of what your co-workers think about your relationship with a colleague is important. This will help you know what you should not be doing.

Sometimes, office romance causes discomfort with others. Being on top of the situation is better than your co-workers reporting this to a higher-up.

(5) Make it legal

Whatever policy you forge, make it a point to have it legally given the thumbs up before you make it official.

It's best to review your own policies rather than others reviewing it to look for loopholes which may lead into an unwanted lawsuit. - Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News
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