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When office romances bloom

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Surveys show that more than 40 percent of workers say they've dated a co-worker. Yet most respondents say their employer lacks a workplace romance policy.

Office romances give managers headaches, especially in the absence of a written policy. As Valentine's Day approaches, you may get drawn into a messy spat in which two valued employees argue over their private relationship—in public.

With people spending so much time on the job, it's unrealistic to prohibit all dating (although some employers forbid dating between supervisors and direct reports). It's better to anticipate issues that can arise and set forth rules and guidelines that govern your response. You should also work with human resources to provide training and raise awareness regarding sexual harassment.

As romance blooms, it can create legal and morale problems. Claims of favoritism can leave you in the uncomfortable position of investigating employees' personal lives. Work with H.R. to ensure you do not violate workers' privacy rights as you gather facts and seek a fair resolution.

If a couple's work product declines, meet with each person privately and review performance standards. Make sure they understand how to meet job requirements without letting their love life interfere.


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