Are you open to dating someone from your workplace? Or do you believe that office romances can only be found in the fantasy worlds of Hollywood movies and Korean dramas? Here's a guide to everything romantic in the workplace.
Workplace relationships are not (yet) common
If statistics are anything to go by, workplaces aren’t exactly the ideal dating grounds for singles. According to a recent survey by JobsCentral, more than half of Asian workers would avoid dating a colleague – with 63.9% of ladies saying that the will not date a colleague, and men being split down the middle…and it’s not because of biases.
The good news is that any hesitation with getting involved in an office romance is mostly psychological. Among respondents who have dated a colleague, 79.6% of respondents in the survey found absolutely no negative treatment or bias-ness towards them, even after their romances were made public. This was regardless of whether they were dating a colleague of similar rank, a superior or a subordinate.
Workplace romances can improve work performance
Here at BGC, we support love – wherever, whenever, and to whoever it happens to. In fact, falling in love with a colleague can make your workplace a wonderful place to go to, every day.
Fast Company reports that office romances can make employees more productive, as lovers find pleasure going to work and even do better at their jobs as a way to impress their partners. When partners are involved in projects together, they’ll be more inclined to share notes and ideas with one another – helping each other and in the process, improve the entire team’s collaborative efforts.
Also, it’s no surprise that happier employees are simply better employees. They’re positive, motivated and willing to go the extra mile to get work done well, hit targets and impress.
An HR’s trusty guide to navigating office romances
Even with those positives in mind, management and human resource personnel still remain optimistically cautious about office romances – and with good reason too. After all, you certainly wouldn’t want a soured romantic relationship to affect the company’s bottom line.
For human resources, the solution is to manage office romances with guidelines that ensure professionalism ensues, even when personal feelings may be in the way.
1. Establish clear boundaries and limitations for employees to follow during office hours, and if needed, have a chat with the employees involved.
2. Carefully remind employees of the consequences they’ll face if their job performance falters.
3. If possible, establish a love contract to protect both romantic parties in case the relationship goes sour. If you’re looking to create a love contract, we recommend covering:
A) Policies against sexual harassment
B) Agreements for employees involved to not participate in any decisions that could cause a conflict of interest
4. Give them advice on protecting both their own and the company’s reputation. As well as personal advice on handling matters such as office etiquette, privacy policies (when it comes to confidential projects that one of them may be working on), and more. If the relationship involves a superior and their direct staff, you’ll also need to be clear with management rules on delicate issues such as possible favouritism, especially when it comes to performance appraisals.
1. What you do NOT what to do, is to institute a ban on office romances. Such regulations not only belittle your employees but are also completely ineffective – as these relationships will still go on, only beyond your prying eyes. (Which is worse, as you won’t be able to effectively monitor these situations.)
2. Threaten to fire employees based on their romantic interests.
3. Don’t ignore the situation and wait for it to resolve itself. A responsible HR department should investigate relationship claims as soon as they’ve caught wind of the situation. This is to prevent other employees from assuming that the romantic interest involved has more privilege over the rest of them. Instead, let lovebirds know that you’re on their side and that you trust them as professionals.
As Malaysia becomes a more open and liberal society, office romances will become more widely accepted (and commonly seen). It’s important to acknowledge that your employees have the right to be in relationships with anyone they want to and to support them professionally. This way, you can get the very best out of them – while they’ll love working for your business.
HOW DOES BGC HANDLE WORKPLACE ROMANCES?
As a company with many passionate twenty-somethings in Malaysia, collected under one roof, it is no surprise that some of our colleagues will end up dating one another.
Thankfully, our HR department is pretty lenient about the situation, unless of course, it starts to affect someone’s work, or if a superior is involved in a romantic relationship with someone under their command.
During this month of love, our BGC teammates got together to film a unique BGC Huddles episode featuring a real workplace couple, and our friends from both the Operations and the HR team. Watch the episode above for some juicy insights into what it’s like to date someone from work.
Would you date someone from work? Yes or no? Let us know in the comments section below!
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