Five Tips on Handling the Workplace Romance
Barriers tend to intensify romance. It's called the “Romeo and Juliet” effect. I call it frustration attraction. ~ Helen Fisher There is a name for romantic attraction to another person. It is called limerence, and it includes both obsessive thoughts and fantasies, as well as a desire to form a relationship with the object of this feeling and to have these feelings reciprocated. Limerence is the stuff of stardust, poetry, film, and many a rapture-filled refrain. However, a true office romantic relationship in which “limerence” is at work at work often leads to the annoyance of peers and superiors because the couple’s focus rarely remains on their work productivity or accuracy. People may follow their hearts beyond all manner of barriers. While it is typical for the romantic pair to hide their “secret” from others, the vibe that surrounds the pair often gives them away, especially if that secret takes a nosedive after a short time. How can you handle romance in the workplace? 1. Make sure all employees receive written policies on all matters pertinent to their jobs, including relationships. If your policy forbids relationships at work, the employee must decide if the relationship is worth the risk of dismissal. If it is not against policy, make expectations clear to the employee, particularly if there might be a risk to the delicate balance of your corporate culture. Specifically, consider the following. 2. Inform the couple about the legalities associated with the relationship, particularly in the instance of a supervisor and subordinate. Others may perceive favoritism. As a result, a disgruntled employee may file a lawsuit - nobody wants that. 3. Shield your company from the legal liability of romance fallout. For example, if the romance goes poorly, it may become a sexual harassment suit. Statistics show the EEOC receives thousands of claims yearly alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. 4. Not only does it help to have a policy regarding office romances, but it also helps if that policy includes a complaint procedure and a system to address allegations. Make it emphatically known that failure to cooperate is considered conduct deserving of immediate dismissal. If office romances are permitted, stress decorum and professional conduct while at work. Clarify expectations that social lives are for outside of work. 5. Assure confidentiality between the pair. Indeed, this is difficult to ascertain, but sensitive information discussed at work with one party should not be told to the other no matter the special allegiance. No one should have the privilege of taking sides or feeling repercussions from a confidential decision. Office romances tend to be a fact of life. People who work in proximity for long hours share an environment that suggests relational communication and commonalities. However, connecting with a professional agency like MPS Technical can help. With more than 20 years’ experience, we are familiar with all kinds of office and employee scenarios. We specialize in finding great career fits in the precision manufacturing industry. Contact MPS today.