Five tips for managing an office romance

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Love is in the air, or it was on Tuesday February 14, which is not only Valentine’s Day but also a day for going to work, where many love stories blossom! We spend so much time at work these days, it’s not surprising that our workplaces have also become our dating grounds!

But what are some of the traps to starting a romance at work? I went out to my team of HR professionals, who have seen their fair share of office romances, for some tips for those considering hooking up with a colleague.

  1. Have the end in mind. Are you prepared to leave your job if it doesn’t work out? One of my colleagues shared the extra work she had to put into rostering her hospitality staff when romances broke up! Do you want to see that person everyday at work once it has gone sour?
  2. Keep your hands to yourself. No PDA or public displays of affection and no using the office as a hotel room on the weekends. In this day and age of 24/7 working, many people head to the office on a weekend to get some work done quietly. Unfortunately one of my HR strategists was faced with the issue of one couple using the office as their love nest on the weekends, distracting those who were onsite for some quiet work time!
  3. No pillow talk. Just because you may now be sharing apartment keys, that does not mean that office keys, passcodes or confidential information is to be shared. You need to be even more careful with office talk you take home when your partner also works alongside the same people.
  4. Be aware of any company disclosure policies your workplace may have in place. This is where you may be required to disclose the relationship so that HR can ensure there is no potential conflict of interest or confidentiality breaches. If these are breached they can lead to instant dismissal.
  5. Cost. Can you afford to invite the entire office to your wedding?! Depending on the size of your office, eloping may be a good option!

We can’t help who we fall in love with or where but if you find love blooming in the workplace it may be worth considering these traps to ensure that there are no broken hearts (or careers) this Valentine’s Day!

Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder of national HR consulting firm wattsnext. Sue-Ellen and her team of professionals help their clients grow through relevant HR for the modern world.

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Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder and director of wattsnext, specialists in HR, recruitment, compliance and people performance.

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