How to deal with office romance

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Navigating the twist and turns of office romance is a tricky affair. The workplace is a fertile ground for office romance due to familiarisation with each other’s ideas, feelings, ambitions, interests, mannerisms, values, preferences, personal habits, long working hours, and conversations that harbor vulnerability. A lot of people meet, flirt, fall in love, and explore relationships in the workplace. Office romance in the modern workplace has become a sensitive issue in the era of the #MeToo movement leading many organisations to police this issue which is somewhat difficult especially where model employes are involved. If you have become romantically interested in your colleague, below are some tips on dealing with office romance.

  1. Check the company policy

Before both parties agree to enter into a relationship, it is highly advisable to look up the company policy on workplace dating and ask yourself if the relationship is worth it? Thereafter, make a decision to either go ahead with the romance at your own peril, change workplaces or simply just put a halt to it.  Most companies are against it due to factors like conflict of interest and risks of future claims.

2. Disclosure

Attempting to forbid office romance can be counterproductive and futile. If both parties decide to go ahead with the office romance, Most company policies outline mandatory disclosure to the Human resource personnel. The role of human resource is to ensure no one has been coerced into the relationship, no conflict of interest and to determine if there is a  need to move either party to different positions. The relationship is then documented in an agreement commonly referred to as a  ‘Love contract’. The agreement indemnifies the organisation against future claims such as sexual harassment if and when the relationship ends. It may also include a guideline for behaviour.

3. Be professional

After the Human Resource personnel has ‘approved’ dating your co-worker and it is no longer a secret amongst your co-workers. Decorum and professionalism must be maintained. Do not let your relationship affect the quality of your work or relationship with your other colleagues. Public Display of affection should be left for after office hours. Remember, your colleagues may be on the lookout for any bias toward your partner, and use it as a catalyst for office politics.

4. Be prepared to work harder

Partners involved in office romance are often closely monitored. The reasons for these may include: performance perception, looking for termination grounds, or to engage in office politics and gossip. As bizarre as it sounds, there should be no room for complacency while a lot is at stake -a relationship and a job. Go the extra mile and work twice as hard and your work will definitely speak for itself.

5. Be Independent 

Office romance tends to a negative impact on one or even both partners’ independence. When it comes to issues like voting, the office already knows the couple vote as a team or when one voices an opinion it automatically becomes the other partner’s opinion. Couples need to be independent of each other through ways like spending time with different colleagues, having different hobbies, and most importantly being responsible enough to view and communicate opinions from one’s own perspective.

6. Consider changing your workplace

Ultimately this the best decision for both parties whether the relationship works or not. In a scenario where the relationship does not work, it will be very awkward working with your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend especially if the breakup was messy. It most often creates unnecessary tension in the workplace. If the relationship works, a clear line needs to separate career life from relationship life and the only sure way to do this is by one partner changing their workplace.

READ ALSO: 7 ways to say no in the workplace without burning bridges.