With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s a good time to talk about office romances and how to deal with them.

Around a quarter of all marriages start in the office, but workplace relationships (good or bad) can cause issues and tensions in the office so should you ban them altogether?

It’s unrealistic to think you can control offices romances, but employers, managers and HR representatives should have processes in place to manage any conflicts.

Have a policy in your company handbook
State that relationships with other employees must not influence conduct in the workplace and should be disclosed if there is a conflict of interest.

Be prepared
Train managers on how to deal with conflict in the office including relationships so that there is a consistency across the business. Line managers should be approachable so that their reports feel comfortable discussing personal issues.

Be clear
Public displays of affection can make people feel awkward. It’s not unusual to have a policy that places a ban on these displays and if they are becoming a problem, HR will normally step in to have a word.

Remind staff of what’s expected
Social events and romantic liaisons often go hand in hand. Remind staff what’s acceptable behaviour and that the company policy still applies during work events.

Act quickly
Tensions in the team can cause problems, be aware of how your team are feeling and deal with any issues quickly and efficiently.

Keep your eye on the ball
Office romances don’t always work out and can harm the business. Romantic arguments and conflicts should be dealt with in the same way as a workplace dispute. If staff can’t be civil after a breakup, managers could look to separate or move staff to remedy the situation.

And if the romance does work out, get those wedding hats out and celebrate in style!

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