According to recent research, over 66% of people admit to being involved in a workplace romance, and whilst some romances can lead to long-lasting love – think Jim and Pam from “The Office” – many relationships cause a headache for the HR department. In fitting with the month of love, we explore workplace romances and the appropriate manner in which to handle them!
When rumours arise that two colleagues are romantically linked, it can lead to panic in the HR department, although no relationship is simple in the workplace, a romantic one is even trickier, especially if the individuals decide to part ways later down the line. Some companies have strict policies in places, which forbid relationships of this nature in the workplace – but it doesn’t stop people breaking them.
The rise of campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp, have put a spotlight on harassment, putting HR professionals under even more pressure to monitor relationships and behaviour in the office. Whether you have a strict policy or not, office romances are often inevitable, so it’s important to have a code of conduct in place which addresses ‘personal relationships’ as well as ‘harassment’.
In addition, it’s important to communicate on a regular basis with those not only in the relationship, but other colleagues too. Romances not only impact the couple, but those that have to work with them, especially if they in the same team. It’s a HR Manager’s job to ensure that relationships are closely monitored, and any issues are resolved as quickly as possible to protect an employee’s wellbeing.
Perhaps, the hardest thing to deal with is the turmoil that occurs when a relationship breaks down, even if it was a mutual decision it doesn’t prevent awkwardness and issues. Again, the key thing is communication, catching up with both parties (and other employees) regularly to ensure problems don’t have an impact on productivity and wellbeing.
Romantic relationships are on the rise in the workplace, so HR Managers need to take note and start adopting suitable strategies to deal with them, otherwise it could lead to headache and heartache…