Valentine’s Day (arguably the sappiest of all commercial holidays) is right around the corner. So what better time to address the hazards of workplace romances — and how to avoid them?
While it’s true that workplace relationships just happen sometimes, the potential downsides are many — for both people’s careers and their personal lives.
Here are a few tips to pass along to your staffers about the risks and realities of workplace dating:
- Know what’s at risk. The greatest potential problem with workplace dating is pretty obvious. If things don’t work out, the two people involved may have to see one another each and every day in the office. But there are many other things to consider. Example: Co-workers may end up siding with one party, which could result in the other person losing friends.
- Always date laterally. Managers should never date their direct subordinates for myriad reasons. But even if two people are from different departments and there’s too much of a position gap, the relationship could still be viewed as inappropriate. Rumors may be spread about how one person is using the relationship as a power play, a means sleeping his or her way up the ladder, etc. For managers in particular, there’s also a legal component to keep in mind. Even if the relationship is mutual, a manager can get hit with a sexual harassment suit if things go sour.
- Discretion is paramount. Because no one wants the office to turn into a high school hallway, tell staffers to be considerate and keep unnecessary displays of affection (kissing, hand holding, massages, etc.) to an absolute minimum.
Are we missing anything? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section.