Workplace romance. What should you do?

If market research is to be believed almost half of all workers in the UK have experienced a workplace romance.

But what may start out as an exciting experience can go badly wrong if you and your new partner don’t manage it carefully.

If you’ve begun a romantic and/or sexual relationship with someone you work with, the first thing you should both do is keep quiet about it. Keep the relationship away from the work environment, and private from your colleagues. That gives you time to decide if the relationship has staying power or could be a brief fling that you may soon want to put behind you.

Next up, check your staff handbook to discover whether your organisation has any rules on co-worker relationships. If they’re forbidden, you’re either going to have be very secretive, or one of you needs to start looking for another job.

And if you are your partner’s manager, or vice versa, the situation isn’t likely to be sustainable. Even if your employer accepts the situation, personal relationships and workplace management relationships are not a good combination. If you want both to flourish it would be best for the senior person in the relationship to move elsewhere.

And while Cupid’s arrow can strike deep and make you feel great, workplace relationships do of course come with additional risks. If you break up, how awkward will it be seeing each other every day? And how balanced is the relationship? If one of you thinks ‘this is the one’ while the other is not nearly as committed alarm bells should be ringing. Also, avoid using company emails to communicate to each other about your relationship. Your employer may be entitled or have reserved the right to your company emails, meaning the content could come back to haunt you.

But if that all sounds rather gloomy, and you just want love to triumph, take heart. In one US survey, the number of workplace romances leading to marriage was almost one in three. So if you both believe in the relationship, find a way to make it work.

For more information on this subject, and anything else to do with HR and employee law, chat to our specialist advisors in minutes.

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