With people spending more time at work than at home, it is no surprise that workplace romances are rising by the year. Several employees don’t see any issues with beginning a romantic relationship with a co-worker.
Still, more would argue it is natural since you spend all that time around your colleagues. Some say it improves workplace performance, and others contend that there could be the issue of conflict of interests at play. A survey performed by CareerBuilder revealed that almost 2 of 5 employees admitted to dating in their workplace or within the company. Further, 16% admitted to having had employment-based romances more than once. In this spirit, we have a couple of tips on going about an office-based or employment-based romance, and how you can handle the ethics related to it.
Review the Policies
It is in your best interest to ensure that you do review the company policies before you go about engaging in extracurricular activities with anyone form your place of employment. This is because different companies have different policies concerning dating in the workplace. It is your ethical responsibility to review the dating policy if you intend having a relationship with a colleague. Many employers understand it is difficult to prohibit such relationships. But they do expect you to act ethically and accordingly to ensure that performance does not suffer.
Disclose the Relationship
It is ethical to make it known to the members of your department if you are in a relationship with someone in your workspace. Especially since some companies considers withholding such information grounds for termination of employment. If, for example, you may be on the receiving end of favors or special treatment. Of course, this may have others in the workplace feeling there is unfairness, especially if the relationship is between a superior and a subordinate. But you have to prepare for such issues.
Watch Your Behaviour
It is ethical to keep public displays of affection at an absolute minimum, which means no acting like a romantic item either at work or even at work-related events (this includes the office party). This applies irrespective as to whether it is a few colleagues meeting at a bar or even at dinner – maintain composure and don’t engage in PDA.
The people around you are still your co-workers, regardless of the setting, and you should always professionally present yourself. Having a separation between the working relationship and your romantic relationship can also be beneficial for you and your partner. It is worth mentioning here that you also have to be careful of what you post to social media, as posting flirty or romantic pictures and posts about each other fuels workplace gossip. The culture of today is social media-driven, and this is calling for issues.
Never Bring Your Fight to the Office
When it comes to workplace relationship ethics, it is crucial to understand the concept of leaving your personal life at home. It may sound like a broken record, but you cannot stress enough on it. It is natural for all couples to argue, have disagreements, and even get into a fight.
You cannot and should not stop this. However, these have to be left at home, and you cannot bring them to the office. It will be awkward for you, your partner, and also your colleagues if they even know you are in the middle of a fight. It is asking for confusion, politics, and general discord in the workplace and may lead colleagues to think your relationship is impacting your work performance.
Have an Exit Plan
Relationships end, love dies away, people lose attraction to each other, they cheat, they break up, and sometimes they grow apart. Many things can happen in a romantic relationship. But none of it should affect your career and your work, for either of you. When you get into a relationship, prepare an ‘exit strategy,’ too. This will come handy if your relationship ends while you continue to work in the same organization. It will ensure both of you have peace of mind, and your careers don’t suffer. This is just the grown-up thing to do. Avoiding uncomfortable conversations is not going to help. If you aren’t able to bring up difficult topics, maybe you shouldn’t enter any workplace relationships just yet. That’s because a lot of ethics come into place in this instance.
Workplace dating is a controversial subject, and many are for it and many against it. The statistics do show that 31% of the people who happen to engage in workplace romances marry their coworkers. Navigating the dating world alone is tough in and of itself. But navigating the dating world in the workplace does make it a little more robust. Following the recommendations can go a long way in helping you maintain professionalism and uphold a good reputation in the work environment.