Valentine’s Day is this week and quite fittingly, we turn our thoughts to the ever sensitive subject of office romance. And whether or not it’s company culture to frown on personal relationships in the workplace or to look the other way, they do happen. Strong bonds develop when employees work long hours together— and nowhere is that more true than in the intense environment of a small business or start-up. Couple that with social media platforms that keep us connected to our co-workers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you have the ingredients for office romance.
So the question is, how should you handle it? Look the other way in the hopes that either the relationship will be short-lived and others won’t notice or that one of the employees in the relationship will leave the company and/or department? Or wait until the relationship turns sour and either you are dealing with a sexual harassment complaint or other employee relations issues as employees “take sides” or claim “unfair advantage”? And what about employees losing focus on work projects as they deal with their relationship issues that have spilled over from their personal lives into their work lives? (more…)