Workplace romances – something everyone knows about and are yet unwilling to discuss. There’s a taboo around office relationships, something which is brought to HR’s attention during the festive season.
So, how do you handle two employees dating? One HR leader thinks the key lies in communication.
“It’s no use or point believing that people won’t find attraction in the office,” explains Craig Sofley, Carillion HR director for Canada and USA.
“Its primitive behaviour, put enough people together and in challenging high-pressured working environment, throw in alcohol in to the mix and no doubt as sure as dollars to donuts it is going to happen that people become attracted to each other.
A study by Vault.com found that 16% of people met their significant other at work. What’s more, one in ten employees said they were currently in a relationship with a co-worker, and almost two-thirds of those asked admitted they would be open to another office dalliance.
“The challenge I’m hearing from a number of co-workers is when is it right or wrong time to approach a co-worker,” added Sofely. “Lots of companies have policies in place to say relationships are not allowed, I’ve even had to introduce ‘Love Contracts’ where individuals who have started a relationship and work closely together.
“Whilst prohibitive relationship policies and contracts are there to avoid unnecessary situations becoming a distraction in an office, how often are they going to be enforced?
“It is going to be interesting to see how the dynamic changes. Are male coworkers now going to be more cautious to make any approach to a co-worker, and will this caution now change the dynamic and female workers take a lead in making any first approach? Or, is this now the end of the office romance?”