Thursday, 17 January 2013

OFFICE ROMANCE: Be smart and informed (Part Two)

Anthony was doing a software installation on one of the newly acquired IPads in their office which were to be used in some presentations by the sales manager during a strategic planning meeting scheduled on the Friday of that week when suddenly Annabel burst into his office wearing a charming smile. The aroma of her perfume filled the room and judging by the way Anthony looked at her, romance was in the air. Annabel seductively leaned forward and Anthony understood this as a sign that she wanted a quick kiss.
They passionately kissed long and slow while caressing each other’s necks and the world to them temporarily came to a standstill. Suddenly, Annabel touched Anthony’s chest with her right hand while her left hand pressed his neck tenderly but firmly, this drastic move made Anthony to momentarily disconnect with the rest of the world and his office consciousness was regained only when the IPad he was holding crashed to the ground with an astounding bang sending the delicate IPad’s broken pieces of its screen scattering on the tiled floor.
All along, they were oblivious of the fact that the General Manager was watching this in his computer via the company’s CCTV which had recently been installed in all offices…..To be continued.

Welcome to OFFICE ROMANCE: Be smart and informed (Part Two)
Make sure you have read OFFICE ROMANCE: Be smart and informed (Part one) posted earlier on this site.

Office romance has both positive and negative effects in our work places and one must know how to handle office romance as an employee and employer. I once worked in a company which had written rules included in organizational policy concerning work romance and the repercussions upon failure to comply with the rules which under extreme circumstances would lead to instant dismissal e.g. having sex in office.

There are some advantages of office romance to those who happen to fall in love in a work place as listed below.

  1. Time efficiency since you no longer need to go searching for your significant other in weekends, evening or online via online dating sites. You save both time and money. Moreover, when time allows, you can have private and personal conversations during the day and this will enhance your love life.
  2. Due to many hours you may spend around your lover who you are working together with, you get to know what he/she likes and what she/he does not. The friendship preliminary in all relationship is taken care of automatically by fate’s providence.
  3. Love has a way of boosting someone’s morale in life and this also apply to office romance. You feel vitalized in the morning with the anticipation of seeing your lover clad in a neat office attire. To those working as a team and happen to be on the same team, it may enhance someone’s job performance. This may also mean working harder to earn accolades from your lover.
  4. If she is a hot cake in the office, this may make you feel like a conqueror in the office, the stud, (obviously the opposite is jealousy and envy from the other guys!). This also applies to a lady.
  5. You get immediate comfort when the day is a difficult one and you have someone to confide to at a less cost (consider calling!).
  6. You may have a lunch together. A lunch date can be very thrilling to both of you and if time and space allows, probably some few kisses or a quickie. (Forbidden fruits taste sweeter, whew!)
  7. It can add real magic to your love and sex life since as you secretly watch and admire each other during the day as you anticipate each other in the evening could have your hormones really flowing in the evening. This is very exciting, huh! (Don’t start seducing your colleague yet!)
The negative effects of office romance could be mild to devastating depending on many factors including organizational policies as listed below.

  1. When things are not moving smoothly between the two of you, it is unbearable for the two of you since there is no breathing space or time off the relationship as you reflect alone how to solve issues. When times are difficult it is not possible to ignore your lover.
  2. Office relationships could portray a negative organizational image especially when your customers/clients get to know about it. They may think instead of concentrating on serving them, you are busy loving each other.
  3. The more private time you spend together, the more you will alienate yourselves from the rest of colleagues. This will have a negative impact on interpersonal relationships with the rest and could also weaken the spirit of team work between you and the rest.
  4. Office gossip may hinder your career progress especially if your boss learns that you are mostly preoccupied with your relationship at the expense of your job. Being caught in the act in the office could also spell disaster for your job.
  5. Office relationships are also recipes for jealously as other employees may flirt with your lover or vice versa (this is normal in most work places), so you have to build more resistance against jealously and this may have a negative impact towards your relationship and social life.
  6. Dating a subordinate, suppositions of favoritism may arise and an issue of sexual harassment after a break up. It is natural to take sides with your lover no matter the circumstances.
  7. Dating your boss may also get you fired in case of a break up! (Imagine telling your boss, “It is over!”, this may mean even your job, a pretty bad scene)
  8. After a break up, she/he may want to seek revenge and reciprocate by making your working conditions hell enough. She/he may even conspire against you to get fired! So do you still want to date your colleague or boss?
There can never be strict rule concerning office dating as this would make the employer seem as he/she is invading into employee private lives. Moreover, love is like smoke in open air and not unless you keep your eyes shut, you can never hide it. So below are just suggestions of how to play the game right (and avoid a red card from your employer!)

  1. Always check with your company policies. If your company forbids it, calculate the risks involved and if it is worth it. You may need to keep it top secret especially from your employer.
  2. Maintain high level of professionalism and avoid bringing your private issues to work. Make sure your feelings for each other are not affecting your job performance.
  3. Restrain yourselves from being romantic in the office and from public displays of affection as this will make your colleagues uncomfortable and jealous, this may make some people to start conspiring for your downfall either in your relationship, your work or both.
  4. Discuss how you will probably handle yourselves in case of a break up and even consider leaving your current job as embarrassment, or seeing your lover dating someone else and worse a fellow colleague, could really hit your ego really bad and destabilize your thinking and have a really negative effect upon your job performance.
  5. Be honest with each other especially because you see each other interacting with members of opposite sex in the work place everyday. This is to guard both of you from becoming overprotective.
  6. To avoid getting churned up in office rumors, if it is not entirely against the company policies to date colleagues, then device a nice way of letting your colleagues know starting to those closest to you and those who you trust. I have seen colleagues dating and eventually getting married. Some companies even encourage people to date [though as long as you keep it professional]
  7. Stay within the law to avoid becoming a victim of sexual harassment laws. (Now, go for that colleague you have been eyeing, you have my blessings!)
Office romance can be difficult to deal with as an employer. Setting strict rules against it does not prevent it from happening as love does not know conditional boundaries. Some organizations even avoid formulating rules against it altogether while others have a code of ethics which include some rules governing office romantic relationships. This may be determined by the size of the organization and number of employees.
What I would recommend for managers, supervisors, employers and departmental leaders is to get acquitted to the sexual harassment laws as they are in the country’s constitution and state employment act (Refer to the EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 2007 PART II – GENERAL PRINCIPLES –Sexual harassment section). However, an employer may have to include in the company policies what are some of the indecent sexual behaviors that should be avoided in the work place and consequences on failure to comply.
….What do you think happened to Anthony and Annabel there after?
Have a good day.


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