Friday, 18 October 2013

Workplace Romance - Kill it or Save it?

Before you brandish your killer rifle, consider that Objectivity should be the watchword when any issue is being analyzed. The trend is that the issue of Workplace Romance has been viewed negatively over time and many Organizations have developed policies preventing it. 

What then, is Workplace Romance? It simply describes a situation whereby two (or more) members of the same organization develop a relationship with mutual attraction (and often sexual benefits).
Since the workplace is a place where people share a common interest, and spend most of their time, it provides the perfect opportunity for love. While love can make one do crazy things, it is important to

keep a clear mind and realize the pros and cons to developing a relationship with a co-worker.
So, while you are loving-up or before you start getting entangled, consider that Workplace Romance:

- Threatens the advancement of one's Career: Some Managers view involvement in Workplace Romance as mixing business with pleasure, unprofessional and a possible lack of judgement and as such, are reluctant to offer the employees involved any further advancements within the company. This is to say that such employees have exhibited poor judgment and cannot be trusted with serious company matters.

- Complicates Work Relationships: When office relationships end in a breakup, it can not only ruin the relationship between the two co-workers involved, but it can also eliminate any personal connections that the employees had with their previous partners' department. Because the two employees will continue to see each other on a daily basis, the breakup can cause negative feelings toward the other individual as well as a reminder of one's failure.

- Brings about Co-Worker Confusion: Romantic relationships in the workplace are often known and easily detected by the couple's fellow co-workers. Once it is made known that the two individuals are in a relationship, it is often difficult for their co-workers to know whether to view them as individuals or as a team. One person's attitude and performance may often be used to characterize the other person, individuals are often misjudged because of the person they are in a relationship with.

- Produces Conflicts of Interest: Conflicts of interest often arise in workplace relationships especially when the couple works in different departments. Their opinions may differ, and they may disclose private information to each other that may hurt either side when making important company decisions.

- Results in Decline in Performance: The involvement of two employees in a romantic relationship can negatively affect their work performance due to distractions in the workplace. These distractions usually occur when there is a major issue in the relationship, such as a wedding, a break-up, conflict at home, a baby on the way, etc., as they inevitably carry the weight of their worries to work.

Okay, right now, it is beginning to sound like Workplace Romance is a 'no-brainer', which then brings us to the Positives or advantages of having intimate Workplace Relationships:

- Energizes workplace morale: There is something about watching people fall in love that makes others feel positive as well. The attitudes of the two people involved in the romantic relationship are often uplifting, and they become happier individuals, which reflects back on their attitudes toward their work and their coworkers. The other employees that see this relationship unfold often feel uplifted as well especially if they were able to play a part in the development of the budding relationship.

- Motivates Employees: Because workplace romances are often viewed in a negative light, the individuals involved are often motivated to do their job better and more efficiently in order to disprove the negativity associated with their relationship with a coworker.

- Encourages Creativity and Innovation: Coworkers in a relationship spend a lot of time together both in and out of the workplace, so there is more opportunity to discuss new approaches and techniques to completing projects together. The individuals in the relationship may brainstorm ways to get their work done faster and more efficiently, so they may spend more time together outside of the workplace.

- Softens Work-related Personality Conflicts: Romantic relationships in the workplace allow the individuals involved to become more open and willing to cooperate with each other. In conjunction with having more positive attitudes toward their work, individuals are often easier to work with because they feel more comfortable expressing their ideas and criticisms with their significant other. This behavioral change can lead to more effective work groups, and in the end, a more productive atmosphere in which open communication is a key aspect.

- Improves Teamwork, Communication and Co-operation: A couple's relationship can provide further communication channels within the workplace especially if the individuals are members of different departments. The personal connection the two individuals have with each other can allow the members of their respective departments to feel more comfortable communicating back and forth as well. Because the channels of communication become more open and accessible, conflicts between departments are also reduced allowing the company to work more effectively as a whole.

From this analysis, it seems like a 50-50 decision...5 Advantages and 5 Disadvantages. What then would you do if you were the Owner or Manager of a company? Have you or do you know someone who has been involved in an intimate Workplace relationship? How did it turn out? Share your experiences. Cheers!

Thanks to Wikipedia for the Intellectual Guide!

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