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Handling office romances…

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Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day and, with colleagues spending hours together each day, there’s every chance it might make its way into the office vents.

Happy and fulfilled employees increases productivity, however office relationships are not always plain sailing, and line managers often end up caught in the crossfire.  At the best of times relationships are complex, let alone in a workplace, so it can be difficult for line managers to help their employees balance these relationships with the standards of behaviour required at work.

So how can line managers deal with relationship issues that might compromise the culture and integrity of the workplace?

Here are a few tips:

Create a company dating policy– As an employer you can protect both the business and employees by having a dating policy that clearly sets out expectations around disclosure and state what conduct the organisation considers to be harassment.

Train management correctly – Line Managers need to be fully up to speed on company policies especially those centred around relationships and should be equipped to handle sensitive situations in a proactive manner. They should also be able to lead by example i.e not being in a relationship either and if they are, subject to company policy, they should ensure that no one is getting special treatment due to that relationship. If a line manager feels they are not able to “morally” intervene then the best possible option is to confirm reasons why to management and someone else is delegated accordingly to manage the process.

Be alert on work social events – Social events or work nights out are often where romantic relationships start. It’s a good idea to remind staff that they are still expected to adhere to company policies when out on work social events. You can do that by making staff aware of existing policies on inappropriate conduct or dating policy.

Damage control  Finally, romance and relationships in the workplace is a hugely sensitive issue, so managers need to be fully equipped and confident in handling the wide range of personal and professional issues involved. Conflicts between former lovers or “entangled” employees in the workplace should be handled in the same way as any other workplace dispute.

To sum up, romance at work is a tricky affair. But you're in luck.

HR Hub Plus Limited offers expert employment law advice and can provide the relevant policies and support.

Did you know that an office romance can have implications on the productivity in the workplace, not just for the people involved, but for the wider staff too, as rumours and gossip spread, leading to wasted time and potentially complaints of favouritism being shown too?

Some businesses we have worked with