Its February , and love is likely to be in the air – seeing that we spend the most part of our day with colleagues within our organisation, chances are that falling in love in or around the office environment is highly likely and is happening now more frequently than ever.
The best predictor of attraction is propinquity; it’s really no wonder they happen considering we spend over 8 hours a day in the near presence of others, it is no surprise that you get to like and feel attracted to them. You are people with similar levels of education, interests and values being recruited to organisations so the process of assortative mating begins at corporate selection itself.
So why should the office not be a good place to find a partner? Can, or indeed should, anyone try to legislate matters of the heart or hormones?
Workplace relationships happen; full stop. Being open, grown-up and sensible is best.
Quite a few of us meet our partners at work, but you don’t need to be a killjoy to realise that workplace relationships can get us into trouble. Even if things go smoothly, undisclosed relationships can give rise to conflicts of interest, office gossip and there is always the risk of blurring boundaries, which could lead to allegations of poor performance or misconduct.
Here are a few tips to managing workplace relationships.
- Keep communications and behaviour in the workplace professional.
- Avoid a relationship with someone who reports to you, or to whom you report. If you think there may be a conflict of interest, consider disclosing the relationship
- Remember confidentiality. You may be party to work-related information that you must not share, even with your partner
- Consider how your workplace dealings with your partner may be construed by other colleagues
- Have a plan for how to deal with what happens if the relationship breaks down.
While employees are entitled to a private life, employers should only interfere in personal relationships only when there is a direct impact on the workplace.
Setting Cupid aside for a moment, Good working relationships give us several other benefits: our work is more enjoyable when we have good relationships with those around us. Also, colleagues are more likely to go along with changes that we want to implement, and we’re more innovative and creative. It also gives us freedom, enabling us to focus on opportunities. Maintaining good relationships will not only make you more engaged and committed to your organization; it can also open doors to key projects, career advancement, and raises.
Just remember – not all relationships will be great; but you can make sure that they are, at least, workable!
Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola is a Regional Marketing Manager for West Africa in an FMCG. A firm believer in empowering others for success in the work place as she is a well sought after facilitator on Marketing and Business management. She also manages Workplace Management columns and Consumer Insight columns in magazines published across West Africa as well as volunteering with NGO’s as a child educator.