An HR Professional’s Guide to Relationships With Co-workers
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OK, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it. You may even know someone who’s acted on it. It’s such a no-no in the workplace that it often makes you want it more because it’s forbidden, right? As a Human Resources professional, I can tell you people like me usually frown on it. It makes my job messy to have to confront you, lecture you and/or fire you for your indiscretions.
So how does a person go about having a relationship with a co-worker without putting his or her job in jeopardy? Here are some tips:
- Your mouth is your biggest enemy. Keep your mouth shut about what you’re doing. No one needs to know about it.
- Keep your hands to yourself while on the clock. Can’t resist the mail guy? Force yourself while you’re in the office. Make sure you are adhering to company policies and not putting yourself in jeopardy of a violation.
- Know your position. While 3 in 10 office relationships end in marriage, 7 in 10 don’t. That’s fine if you’re just in it for fun, but if one of you has other ideas, there could be trouble. Be sure you’re in agreement on this from the start. Any manager out there reading this: Think twice about having a romantic interaction with a co-worker. As a leader of the company, you could be putting the company at risk. Weigh your own risks—is he or she really worth possibly losing your job?
- Watch yourself online. Don’t be dumb and e-mail lewd pictures or text your co-worker, even after office hours. You don’t want evidence of your activities where others can find them, and if things go bad those photos and words can come back to haunt you. Be careful what you post, tweet and share.
- Be prepared – the end will come. If your liaison ends, how will you both handle things? If you’re hooking up with a co-worker the last thing you want to have to worry about after things are over is a nasty office atmosphere or someone spreading rumors. Try to agree to part ways quietly so that neither of you needs to leave the company.
For the most part, relationships with a co-worker are usually a bad idea, but when you can’t resist, keep these guidelines in mind. If not, your employer will be contacting you to discipline you or worse, terminate you.
E Heather McCloskey Author's page Heather McCloskey, founder of McCloskey Partners, a national full-service human resource firm, will keep your company out of hot water when dealing with employment issues.