As an employer of labor and HR practitioner, I have witnessed co-workers get married and are happily together thereafter. I have seen individuals whom I never thought were in any relationships whatsoever, sent me an invitation to attend their wedding ceremonies. With this background, I will like to address some of the advantages of workplace relationships specifically to the organizations and in some cases the individuals.
Interesting too, current studies are pointing to the fact that millennial workers (ages 18 to 29) and GenX (ages 30 to 46) are favorably disposed toward workplace relationship thereby giving an indication of the requirements for adjustment by employers and organizational leaders in the reality of our times and workplace realities.
The questions, then, is what the attractions in workplace romance or office relationships are:
- Performance Energizer. It is a popular saying that a happy worker is a productive worker and since positive relationship promotes happiness it can then be inferred that being in a relationship with a co-worker would naturally promote productivity and improved performances with less distraction and more commitment to the organization.
- Unity and bond-builder. When two co-workers who are united by work get involves in a relationship we assume that such relationships will ultimately promote unity aimed at the company’s interest. The parties will tend to support each other in the completion of a task and sometimes they stay back in the office to ensure that tasks are completed.
- Promotes the sense of appreciation and loyalty. When organizations operate open policies that promote romantic affair disclosure, the employees that are involved tend to express some sense of gratitude to the organization for accepting them and this will in a way enhanced their loyalty to the organization and its ideals and vision.
DISADVANTAGES OF WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS AND ROMANCE
It is instructive to look at the case of astronauts Lisa Nowak and William Oefelein; who were involved in a relationship as members of NASA in 2007. Lisa and William started out on a friendly note and later gravitated towards a relationship that turns out bad. William Oefelein left the relationship and got involved with Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman whom he later got married to.
In an apparent frustration and in an attempt to stopped Shipman from getting involve with William, it was reported that Nowak travelled 900 miles from Houston to Orlando, Florida on 4-5th February, 2007, having in her car a latex gloves, a BB pistol and ammunition, pepper spray, black wig, a trench coat, a 2-pound (900 grams) drilling hammer, black gloves, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, her computer, a knife with a cash sum of approximately $ 585.
She arrived the Orlando International Airport, waited to identified Shipment who has just arrived Houston by plane, she accosted her at the car parking lot, but, because Shipman had noticed someone following on her heels to the parking area she moved faster, got into her car and wound up and secured the doors. Nowak ran towards and knocked on the car door veraciously asking to be giving a ride, Shipman said she lower the window a little only to be sprayed with the pepper spray, she drove off and call the attention of the police and Nowak was arrested.
The above example is the other side of workplace romance, so I will be looking at some of the disadvantages of workplace relationship.
- Adulterous workplace relationship.
Since there are no codes restricting relationships amongst adults, it has been noticed that sometimes individuals that are married get involved in a romantic relationship at workplace giving all the conditions that promote such relationship at workplace thereby leading to adultery and families destabilization. In some instances, the true states of one’s marital status are kept a secret deliberately to allow for extra-marital affairs at a workplace.
I remembered some years back when a man walked into the office to accused his wife of extramarital affairs at a workplace; it was such a nuisance and an embarrassment to the organization. It took the efforts of well-meaning colleagues to douse the tension that such act degenerated into.
- Hampered Productivity
It is without a doubt that when colleagues engage in romantic relationships at the workplace, it has the tendency of creating distractions for the individuals with negative attendance on quality of their performance and productivity. It is worst if it is a boss and his or her subordinate staff.
- Conflict of Interest
Imagine when your secret or disclosed lover who reported to you commit an offense in breach of the company’s policy and you are in a position to investigate the matter. Definitely, there will be a conflict of interest between your affairs and the organization’s interest except for really matured and principled individuals.
- Jealousy among co-workers
Like every other relationship, a relationship between co-workers could go wrong and it can sometimes result in a broken relationship, also, we have seen cases of double dating and the so-called triangular dating. The resultant effects of broken relationships among colleagues can results in deep-seated hatred and jealousy when the same person is found dating another worker in the same organization. Also, because those in relationships are always thinking that nobody is aware of their secret affairs when in actual fact it is an open secret, this also create jealousy and sometimes hidden hatred.
- Accusation of Sexual Harassment
An earlier article on sexual harassment, pointed out copiously the criminal implications of workplace sexual harassment and how difficult it is to drew a line between mutual consent and harassment, often time, when a relationship turns out bad, a party to the affairs often claim harassment, victimization, and retaliation which in itself is an offence.
It is the position of this writer, that the pros and cons of workplace romance should be properly weighed before it is engaged in. And, if possible, look outside the workplace for romance.
Continued to: HOW SHOULD ORGANIZATIONS MANAGE WORKPLACE ROMANCES?
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