My last article on sexual harassment at workplace generated whole lots of comments thereby birthing a follow-up write-up on this all-important question, when and how should a line be drawn between sexual harassment and romance at the workplace? Common to all the questions raised by readers is the possibilities of falling in love with a colleague and having a true romance at the workplace.
Researchers and organizations’ theorists have posited that workplace romances are commonplace and they are in no way a novelty. It is as old as the organization itself and human society for that matter. For example, the story of Abraham and Hagar in the Bible is well known.
Also in a recent survey conducted by Harris International on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 1 to November 30, 2012, among 4,216 workers the followings discoveries were made:
- 39 percent of respondents said they have dated a co-worker
- 17 percent said they have dated co-worker at least twice
- 3 out of 10 workers who had office romances married their co-workers
- 29 percent reported having dated someone above them in their company’s hierarchy
- 16 percent admitted having dated their boss
- 38 percent of women reported having dated their boss compared to 21 percent of men.
The above statistics show that workplace romances are real, it happens, however, absolute caution must be taken when engaging in such relationships, in fact, if it can be avoided it is better to look elsewhere for romance other than a workplace. Having said this, note must be taken of the rules and regulations, customs and practices of the organization to see if your organization is favorably disposed to such relationship or not. This is important because some organizations have an unwritten code that disallowed workplace relationships even when they display a public toga of a flexible and an accommodating workplace.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIP OR OFFICE ROMANCE?
Workplace relationship or romance is the feeling of affection that happens between two co-workers in the same organization or corporate space having the character of a hidden or an outward expression of deep emotion or gesture of excitement and possibly loves.
CHARACTERISTICS OF WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIP AND ROMANCE
- It a type of relationships that exist between two people employed by the same organization
- It is promoted mostly by proximity, closeness and time spent together at a workplace or on the same project or task.
- It may result in an uncommon partnership, a feeling of togetherness and sometimes conscious or unconscious outward expression of feeling for each other
- Such relationships could lead to love, marriage or a broken relationship
- It is not limited to the unmarried, it can happen between married employee and unmarried employee or between married and married persons or what has been described as “adulterous workplace relationship”
- It is intentional as both parties are conscious of their decision
- It may occur at different hierarchies in the organization, for example between executive members or senior staff, between a boss and a subordinate, or between peers
- It might not necessarily be supported or disallowed by the organization; hence, it could be open or hidden.
Continue reading: ADVANTAGES OF WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS AND ROMANCE
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