Workplace romance exists when two members of the same organization develop a relationship with mutual attraction. Those who develop workplace romances may cause damages to morale and productivity in the workplace. Along with this, businesses and companies are still confused at whether or not they should interfere in the romantic relationship. If they do choose to interfere, what department should be in control of handling the situation and what policies should be set if workplace romances do happen. If there are not policies, should there be set guidelines? These are still questions that many companies are trying to answer.
When in a workplace people grow bonds with their co-workers that go beyond just friendly ‘lunch’ meetings. They grow in-depth relationships that deepen into romance. A place where people share a common interest, and spend most of their time, provides the perfect opportunity for love. While love can make one do crazy thing, it is important to keep a clear mind and realize the pros and cons to developing a relationship with a co-worker.
An added complication is that one or both partners involved in a workplace romance may be married or in a relationship outside of the workplace. Co-workers aware of an adulterous workplace relationship may become uncomfortable, viewing themselves as party to the deceit.
Workplace romance is a pretty common .Workplace Romance involves two members of the same organization and same age who experience mutual attraction (Pierce et al., 1996, p. 6). As individuals spend increasing hours in the workplace, they begin to spend more time with co-workers building relationships. While employers may desire for employees to be happy, workplace romance is a highly sensitive subject, due to the lack of formal rules and policies in businesses, almost all working citizens will be somehow be connected to a workplace romance.
It is so common that a 2007 survey by vault.com found that 47%of professionals admitted to having been involved in an office romance and another 19% have considered it.Furthermore,11 % said they had dated their boss or another superior in the organization.
The possible negative effects of office romances Valentine’s Day is here again and the subject of office romances is top on the mind of employers. Office romances are quite common and consist of two employees at the same company becoming romantically involved with one another. Many experts put this down to the fact that in today’s society, both men and women are spending a much greater part of their lives at work than they ever have in previous generations.
For businesses of all sizes, such developments could complicate business operations. After all, office romances that go wrong can not only result in emotional pain for one or both of the employees involved, but can also trigger losses of workplace productivity that directly impact on the business. The risks that a deteriorating romance poses for a company are undeniable. However, the benefits of happily partnered employees are another possible outcome to an office romance (i.e. increased creativity, performance and motivation). You never know.
Vault.com recently released the results from its annual Office Romance Survey, which showed that many workers are willing to ignore the risks involved with finding love in the workplace. According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents said that they have participated in some form of office romance, whether it was a one-night stand, a casual relationship, a long-term commitment or all of the above. Even the lousy economy isn’t deterring office romances: 65 percent of respondents told Vault that it has had no affect whatsoever on their willingness to take romantic risks at work, with only 31 percent claiming that they are less willing now than before the recession.
Concluding from Vault’s survey results, people are willing to participate in office romances as long as there aren’t negative effects; that is why we wanted to know from our readers:
Has your company been negatively affected by workers’ office romances? Surprisingly, out of 158 total respondents, the majority (67%/106) say that their workplaces have not been negatively affected by a co-workers office romance. Only 33%/52 of respondents say they have felt the negative impacts of office romances at their company (for details on poll result see table below).
So what are the possible negative effects of office romances?
Concerns range from the potential of harassment to sexual harassment claims to vicarious liability claims especially in the event that one of the parties asserts that he or she was coerced, accusations of favoritism, retaliation and workplace disharmony if the relationship should end. Employers are also concerned about potentially lowered morale and the productivity of both the dating couple and their co-workers.
According to Vault.com,
38 percent of respondents told Vault that they felt they had been in situations where a coworker gained a professional advantage because of a romantic relationship with a colleague or superior. Where relationships at different levels do occur, men date subordinates twice as much as women do (34 percent, compared to 13), and are half as likely to have dated a supervisor (just 14 percent of relationships involve a subordinate male, compared to 24 percent where women are subordinate). 31 percent felt uncomfortable because of co-workers’ intra-office relationships. Gossip, it seems, is a major concern when it comes to workplace relationships. “People’s gossip took a toll on my managerial capacity. My subordinates were not as respectful as they were once they found out,” one respondent explained. Another said, “It is very difficult to keep yourself out of the gossip pool once rumors begin to spread.
A policy is always a good thing
Most companies recognize that attempts to neutralize or forbid office romances are probably doomed to failure. It is not considered a reasonable solution.
Because of the above potential pitfalls, many firms have policies. Having a written policy allows employers to acknowledge that office romances are a fact of organizational life, but it also sends a strong message that employees shouldn’t let romantic relationships affect the workplace.
It would also allow employers to communicate to employees when managerial action should be taken regarding their intra-office dating (i.e. when the performance of co-workers was negatively affected; where the work environment was negatively impacted; and when negative emotion from a break-up affected a work environment previously unaffected by a workplace romance.) Action should also be taken when there is an office romance between a manager and an employee in the same department
Does your organization have a police that addresses workplace romance?
Make penalties clear-Define what actions will be undertaken if the policies are violated (i.e. discipline, transfer, demotion, termination).
State outright that any alleged sexual harassment will be handled in a legally proper manner. Refer to your harassment/sexual harassment policies. Managers must make employees aware that the company has a zero-tolerance policy on all forms of harassments including sexual harassment. Information should be provided about the consequences of such behavior. If an office relationship degenerates to such a point, it is important for the business owner to maintain an impartial stance and make sure that decisions are made on the basis of the evidence at hand after a proper investigation has been conducted.
Also train supervisors and managers to avoid workplace romances with their subordinates and to report any inappropriate behavior. If a relationship develops between a supervisor/manager and his or her subordinate, transfer one of them if you can, so there isn’t a direct reporting relationship.
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 concerns mentioned in this article.
A sample policy can be found in the HR info desk website in the Library > National > Sample Policies and Forms > Code of Conduct and Employee Behaviors > Office Romance (log in required). – See more at: http://www.hrinfodesk.com/preview.asp?article=35263#sthash.QfMrGmxy.dpuf
Managing the situation is better than ignoring it.
Although workers’ attitudes lean toward acceptance, workplace policy tends to lean the other way. That’s because the results of an acrimonious ending are far more consequential for the company today than ever before. The Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings changed gender relations forever because they brought forth sexual harassment as a workplace issue, catapulting common sense rules of decency, courtesy and etiquette into the legal arena.
Since then, as stated in2013, Wall Street Journal, there has been a change in attitude by companies regarding workplace romances. A double standard used to prevail that officially forbid relationships, yet didn’t interfere unless forced to do so. Usually, it was the woman who brought it to the attention of the company—after a sour break-up—and, most often because of the power-differential, she was the one who was fired or quit her job.
Times are different now, and companies are rethinking their positions. They’re opening their eyes to the truth—that people meet life partners everywhere—and organizations are better off if HR manages the situation, rather than ignores it. For one thing, employers risk losing valuable workers if they do otherwise. Also, the stronger the prohibition, the more likely people will keep these relationships secret. And the employer who doesn’t know about these relationships runs a greater risk of sexual-harassment complaints if the romance turns sour.
What’s the current status in companies? According to a 2013Workplace Romance Survey conducted of its members by the Alexandria, Virginia-based Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Protect competence, productivity and morale.
As worried as managers are about sexual-harassment litigation, the more frequent culprit is lost productivity, lowered morale and loss of valuable workers whom the company values and has expended time and money training. “Companies should always keep in mind the possibility of a sexual-harassment suit and take precautions to protect themselves, so in case it occurs, they have a defense,” says Amalfe. “But the bigger expense to employers is people leaving the workforce because they’re unhappy that they work alongside someone who’s being favored because she’s having an affair with the boss.”
This usually happens when the lovers are in a reporting relationship, and not when they’re peers. Thus another reason for policies to focus on relationships in which power is an issue. “What you’re trying to do as an employer is to manage these relationships in a way that maintains a productive, happy workforce on the one hand, and doesn’t overly intrude into the employee’s private life on the other hand,” says Michael Karteles, partner and head of the Employment Law Group at Chicago-based Goldberg, Kohn, Bellblack, Rosenbloom & Marin. “Employers can legitimately be concerned that there’s not going to be an objective evaluation process if the supervisor is personally.
What’s acceptable? What’s not?
In truth story
Consider the case of Deana and Nicholas (not their real names). Deana is a 30-year-old PR professional who lives in San Francisco. Her heady love affair with a handsome colleague started simply enough when they went out for drinks with others after work. Next, he sent e-mails to which she responded. The relationship became more and more intense. They were both happy.
At first, it was uncomplicated because they worked on different floors of the building and had different clients. But six months into the romance, it became tense when Deana wanted to move in together, and Nicholas did not. The flurry of e-mails from Nicholas dwindled, but Deana continually checked for them. When they weren’t there, she’d become upset and distracted. Her work suffered. Then, his division moved to the same floor as hers. She began to use the stairs and avoid the elevator because it was near his desk. She would ruminate over looks he cast her way. She’d worry that he could hear her on the phone. “Even things like making a trip to the bathroom became uncomfortable be-cause I’d have to walk past him,” she confesses. “I’d think, ‘I don’t want to see him.’ I would definitely go out of my way to avoid seeing him,” she says. “If we broke up, I don’t think I could work in the same place.”
Romantic relationships in the workplace can have several benefits to those involved as well as to the work environment. Some examples include the following:
1. Energize 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.
2. Motivate 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. Those involved do not want to be thought of as distracted or unproductive due to their relationship status, so they may put in extra time and effort to demonstrate the positive aspects of their romance. Also, being in love leads to positive attitudes, which in turn motivates people to do well in other aspects of their lives.
3. Encourage creativity and innovation
Creativity and innovation are other aspects associated with positive attitudes. 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.
4. Soften 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.
5. Improve teamwork, communication, and cooperation
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.
In addition to the benefits of romantic relationships in the workplace, there are several negative aspects that the romance may cause to the couple as well as to the company as a whole.
1. Threaten career advancements
A fear that many employees have when thinking about getting involved in a romantic relationship with a coworker is eliminating any potential they may have for upward mobility in the company. For instance, some managers may see the development of a workplace romance as unprofessional and a possible lack of judgment that may discourage them from offering the employees involved any further advancements within the company. Many employees view a romantic relationship in the workplace as a risk that is not worth taking because it may jeopardize their career.
2. Complicate 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.
3. 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. Co-workers are often confused about how to react to the news of the relationship or the breakup, which can lead to awkward interactions in the workplace as well as avoided conversation. In addition, co-workers may often use the couple’s relationship to change the opinions of one of the individuals instead of approaching the person directly. Also, the individuals in the relationship can often be misjudged because of the person they are in a relationship with. For example, a manager may pass up an employee for a promotion because he/she is in a relationship with an individual who does not exemplify the needed characteristics, and it is assumed that the couple is alike in that regard.
4. Work performance decline
The involvement of two employees in a romantic relationship can negatively affect their work performance due to distractions in the workplace. Fellow employees are likely to notice any decline in an individual’s work because their workload is often determined by their co-workers. Concentration levels may decrease depending on the stage in the relationship.
5. Conflict of interest
Main article: Conflict 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. Many companies have policies that do not allow married couples to work together to avoid conflicts of interest in hopes of maintaining the integrity of the company as well as protecting the couple’s relationship. However, some companies do allow married couples to work together but may provide guidelines on what is ethical and what is not. While working together at the same level may be acceptable, when the couple works in hierarchical roles, the standards may change. Another type of relationship that may cause a conflict of interest is when an employee is involved with a manager or an individual in a higher position. Coworkers may feel as if the employee in the relationship is receiving special treatment, and this in turn can affect the way employees trust the management of the company.
After all workplace romance is harmful for any organization, it destroy the importance work time and create problem in the work place. Almost all the organization have some work romance. Every organization try to remove this types of problem. At the present time organization take some police and rule to prevent this work place romance. And make sure the separate work place and posted different branch to prevent the work romance and handle the organization very easy smooth way to improve the productivity in the work place
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^ a b c BERCOVICI, JENNIFER (1/8/2007). “THE WORKPLACE ROMANCE AND SEXUAL FAVORITISM: CREATING A DIALOGUE BETWEEN SOCIAL SCIENCE AND THE LAW OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT” (PDF). Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 16: 200–2011. Retrieved 12/1/2011. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help) CS1 maint: Date and year (link)
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