Office romances—romantic relationships between two people employed by the same employer—are as common now as they have been throughout history. The long hours many people spend at work make for a situation in which those with whom we work are for many not only colleagues but our primary source of social contact.
Therefore, romantic relationships are bound to develop. In fact, according to an article on the Discovery Health Channel Web site, 4 out of 10 people now meet their spouses at the office and more than half of those partaking in a survey reported to having had at least one office romance.
Many office romances end happily, but not all. For businesses, workplace romances carry with them the potential to complicate the work environment and cause difficulties of various types—lost productivity due to distraction; accusations of favoritism; jealousy among co-workers; the potential for an antagonistic mood should the relationship end poorly; and, in a worst-case scenario, allegations of sexual harassment in the event that one of the parties asserts that he or she was coerced.
Because of these potential pitfalls, many firms have policies that were established to try and discourage or even prohibit such liaisons from forming.
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The question for the small business owner or manager becomes: Most experts suggest that a company establish some sort of policy addressing this issue so that it is not put Term for dating in the workplace a position of being reactionary when confronted with the first such romance. By planning ahead, incorporating guidelines on workplace romances into the employment policies, and publicizing these policies, a company can remove confusion and in most cases the concern about favoritism.
Small companies may be in a more difficult position than larger firms when it comes to managing workplace romances. In a large firm, an office romance may be more easily worked around. A large firm has multiple departments into which employees who are romantically involved may be transferred so that they do not work as closely together. It becomes this whole saga. I think it is actually harder for the smaller organizations than the larger ones. It can be more invisible in the larger ones.
Knowing what to include in a workplace policy on dating or romantic relationships is not easy. Banning dating among employees may not be a reasonable solution, although exceptions can certainly be made in instances where one of the principals involved has a supervisory role over the other.