I have been told that love finds people in the most amazing places. OK – sometimes it is masquerading as lust, but it is no less potent! Especially if it happens in the workplace. Actually, in my experience it is all the more potent when it happens in the workplace! So what should you do if a member/s of your staff is involved in an office romance?
The first thing you should do is to make sure that the rumours are true. It will be tempting, but don’t ask around. As a manager, you don’t want to be seen as a gossip. You need to ask the staff member/s involved.
If it is confirmed, then be proactive to manage the professional relationship between you and your staff member/s. This means having an awkward conversation, which could easily turn into an episode of Dr Phil! So be warned….
Nevertheless, it is a conversation you need to have with that staff member/s to make sure that your expectations are aligned:
- Understanding the company’s fraternisation rules (if any – ask HR for a copy). If your company doesn’t have one, seek HR’s advice about the topics your discussion should cover off. This is particularly important for your company where there is a potential complication as a result of the discrepancies between the positions or powers of two love-birds.
- Understanding that the workplace requires a level of professionalism at all times. You should outline your expectations in details about what you expect regarding their interaction with each other, with other staff members and with yourself. For example, pet names may be an issue, as would public displays of affection.
- Get them to think about what happens after the hook-up haze. Where you can, get them to agree on specific actions should particular scenarios eventuate. For example what happens if they got into an argument? Or if (heaven forbids!) they break up?
Being proactive in managing office romances will help in ensuring that professionalism in the workplace is maintained and that should things go wrong, the damage is minimised.
By the way, in this day and age I think the above can also apply where you think a member/s of your staff are involved in an office bromance…. But I will leave that thought with you.