By Marlene Cosain
The love bug came into your office and bit two of your employees. While initially this thought may be heartwarming, it can pose many problems for your company. Office romances are often over-looked, but they are becoming more and more common. If you take a step back and acknowledge that your employees are spending around forty hours of their week interacting, you realize how much time they truly spend interrelating in a cooperative environment with each other. For many of the single ladies and gentlemen, work consumes most of their day and a third of their life. This makes it harder to go out and search for a potential partner. For this reason, it is only natural to at one point feel a connection with a coworker who shares similar goals, educational background and interests. Due to the risks associated with an office romance, many business owners chose to take actions against it, while others believe it is too much work and time that is invested in monitoring relationships amongst coworkers. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a few advantages and disadvantages of relationships in the business environment.
Is it a Good Thing?
Now that we have established and accepted that office romances do happen, it’s time to see if your business can actually benefit from them. When you put yourself in their shoes, you have flashbacks of being struck by cupid and wanting to spend more time with your potential partner. This translates to the workplace. Employees get excited and motivated to go to work, simply to be in the presence of their love interest.
Then, there is also a productivity boost. When working with someone you feel comfortable around, you tend to perform better. Also, it is common to go home speaking work jargon, but if both your employees work together, then work topics can arise at home as well which leads to brainstorming.
The Flip Side
Although some business owners may find policies against work relationships or hiring married couples harsh, there are many valid points supporting their ideology. The most obvious argument against office romances is the drama that it can bring. It is difficult to determine whether or not your employees will be able to separate their personal problems from their productivity in the workplace. To take it one step further, imagine your two employees are going through a rough patch or possibly breakup, they then ask their coworkers to pick sides in their feud. Although this seems like we are back in high school and adults do not act like this, they do. Consequently, this office romance that originally seemed benign now turned into a spectacle.
The second biggest issue with an office romance is favoritism. For example, if one of your supervisors begins dating a staff member, other coworkers may feel like there is bias when it comes to employee/company decisions. Entrepreneur notes, “If one person in the relationship supervises the other, will he or she be able to be fair and objective when delegating responsibilities or distributing work projects?” Psychology Today also suggests that not only is the relationship between your employees, but now your staff because your staff will begin to have resentment if they see that company decisions are not based on effort but instead connections.
Whichever policy you may chose to apply, relationships between employees can be both beneficial and detrimental.