Look Before You Leap: An HR Manager’s Take on Workplace Romance

Thinking about (or up to your eyebrows in) a workplace romance?

As you know, we are always rooting for you, dear readers, and looking out for your best interest.  This month’s focus has been about maintaining healthy professional and personal lifestyles, which led to a conversation about workplace romances. With that in mind, here are a few basic recommendations from Philo4Thought’s Mentors:


  1. Know the office policy for workplace romance. Some companies regard workplace romance as a conflict of interest and strongly disapprove of anything personal that may impair your work or affect the company image. In such cases, think carefully about your potential relationship as the only isle you might end up walking down may be at your local unemployment office.ct-office-romance-0212-biz-20160211
  2. Avoid serial daters in the workplace. While there’s a saying that says you can’t help who you fall for, it’s important to check out who it is you are falling for. If it’s the “office hottie” or the person who is always perched at the corner of everyone’s desk to flirt with everyone from the mail clerk to the CEO, it’s probably not a smart idea to put your career on the line for what will probably just end up being a short-term office fling with long-term ramifications on your dignity and professional reputation.

  3. Maintain professional decorum in the workplace. Even in cases where office romances are accepted, it’s important to maintain professional conduct at the office. Err on the side of being conservative and save romantic language and contact for after office hours. 


  4. Respect each other and keep your social media clean. Employers, colleagues and prospective clients do not need to see photos and posts about your private life (good or bad) plastered all over social media. Be sure that you and your significant other agree to keep your private life private. 


  5. Be mindful of potential complications that may affect your reputation at work. In cases where you’re dating either a supervisor or a competing colleague, be mindful that there may be significant chatter “around the water cooler” about how you got your recent project or promotion. Rumors of favoritism may run in degrees from 0 to Mach 6.8 with or without justification.8730529_f520
  6. Stay positive to allow room for personal and professional growth. Remember, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” and have a solid contingency plan in case your office romance spirals into something you feel you can’t handle. All relationships hit a few snags. Lay out clear ground rules with each other and be mindful of how to work through normal mishaps without bringing each other down, dragging colleagues into personal arguments, etc. The workplace should always be a “safe space” for all members of the organization. Leave work issues at work and personal issues at home. 

ADDITIONAL READING: You should also check out the more formal recommendations from The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)Employee Dating Policy

Happy Valentine’s Day, and remember… look before you leap!