With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it was only appropriate to address the topic of workplace romances this week. Relationships, dating and hooking up seem more common than bad candidates these days and we wanted to share our advice from both the employee and the employer viewpoint. Today we are tackling how to handle them as an employee!
According to the survey, produced by job site Vault.com, 58% of employees have engaged in a romantic relationship with a colleague which is a pretty high percentage. It’s natural for employees who spend six to eight hours a day with each out to form relationships both social and romantic. So what do you do if you find yourself being a workplace romance statistic?
Maintain Professionalism at All Times
Your employer pays you a salary or hourly for all your time worked. You have an obligation to work. At the end of the day that’s the simplest way to describe the employee-employer relationship. When you let your social or relationship issues impact your work, you are putting your job at risk. No matter what you do, you need to maintain professionalism and professional boundaries at all times. You shouldn’t be hooking up at work or spending an outrageous amount of time texting while on company time.
To Tell or Not to Tell
This comes up a lot in situations of workplace romances. I’ve had an employee say directly to me when asked if there was a relationship going on “I don’t have to answer that.” Truth is, you don’t. Generally, there’s no legal requirement for you to disclose to your employer any romantic relationships however there is an ethical one. Depending on your role within the organization and the role of the other person, there might be an ethical reason. Reporting relationships or perceived imbalances can be detrimental to your other co-workers and sometimes it makes sense to disclose to your employer. Check your employee handbook to see what the policy is on workplace relationships/romances.
If It Ends….
Not all relationships work and spending a lot of time together both at work and in your personal life can sometimes place a strain on a relationship. If it ends, compartmentalize it. Don’t put your career or job at risk over an ending relationship. If there is a level of discomfort at work, you can try talking to your HR department to see if some alternative arrangements can be made however see number one. Generally the expectation is that you continue to maintain professionalism.
Overall, we recommend you air on the side of caution and tread VERY lightly before entering a romantic relationship at work. I’ve worked in many places where workplace romances turn into marriages and it’s a beautiful thing however I recommend you look at how you prioritize your career and personal life. What is most important?