Workplace Romances: Yes or No?

Posted on February 2017 By Speller International
Workplace Romances: Yes or No?

​It’s the stuff of countless Hollywood rom-coms. Some of you may have found yourself wrapped in their rosy glow for a while, or at least indulged in occasional daydreams of discreet dalliance…

We’re talking workplace romances, of course. And given that we spend roughly thirty years of our lives and over half of our waking days at work, it’s no wonder when people fall for someone in-house.

It pays to ask though: are relationships founded in a work environment ever a good idea? Well, it really depends. There are so many variables that it is simply impossible to state one way or the other whether you should or shouldn’t mix love and work.

There are however some clear observations to be made about the sort of dynamics you can expect, if Cupid comes calling by your office. And be advised – there are some thorns in among the roses…

Achy breaky heart

Let’s start with the awkward. Here in Australia we tend to believe that people’s private lives are just that – private. But did you know that in the US many companies go so far as creating ‘love contracts’ for employees?

These are agreements whereby staff members are required to disclose any intimate relationship to management, with guidelines around the responsible conduct of that relationship in the workplace. If things go truly sour, such contracts serve to protect the company from adverse fallout if the relationship goes south.

Looked at objectively, it’s not such a bad idea. Consider all the different ways that a workplace relationship differs from dating someone outside your place of business, for instance.

For starters, you’d see each other ALL day, EVERY day.

While that may be good – very good – to begin with, it does run the risk of diminishing returns. And if you happen to break up? Can you imagine having to see an ex everyday, let alone having to work with them?

Don’t forget too that if your colleagues are aware of your relationship, then there are a range of potential impacts upon the wider network of the workplace and your place in it.

Co-workers might feel that the two of you are sharing privileged or confidential information with one another in your pillow talk, and you may become the subject of office gossip.

Your relationship may even become a distraction, with longer lunches or communication lapses that – if unchecked – could jeopardise your jobs. Would you be willing to transfer to another department… or even another company, in order to make it work?

Ain’t no mountain high enough

All that aside, there are countless people who have found lasting love in the workplace. One reason is that typically you’ve had the opportunity to get to know the person before embarking on a relationship. Plus, there is often an existing web of connections that will support two people coming together, and are happy to see such a romance blossom.

Secondly, your partner knows a bit about your job. They know the workplace stresses you’re subjected to, the pressures, and the personalities you deal with. They know the good parts and can share in any successes with you… as well as support you in the not-so-good moments we all have.

Plus, you have a buddy you can rely on to carpool with, or share in the transit time of getting to work via bus, train or tram! For others still, there may be the secret thrill of hiding something together, if you’re keeping the relationship under wraps…

Just the way you are

So you can see, there’s no one road to happiness in workplace romances. They can be fraught and complicated… but they can also be effortless and wonderful.

For instance, we know of numerous people in the SAP community who are in a relationship or who are married. Some keep their maiden name and their associations private, while others happily accept contracts together at the same organisation and present as a ‘team’.

But if you launch head-over-heels into matters of the heart in the workplace, be prepared to ask some hard questions, or have them asked of you. Hook-ups at the Christmas party rarely seem worth it, but maybe being open to love in the workplace isn’t such a bad idea if the above considerations are kept in mind.

Just remember though, you need to ask yourself – are you willing to risk your job or career for love? It’s a big question, yes. But the big questions are the ones most worth asking, aren’t they?