Thursday, 27 October 2011

Office Romances

Just thought I'd share this article I read last week in The Age:

It's business time: work romance dos and don'ts

At least 30 per cent of worke

rs have found love - or lust - at the office, numerous polls shows, and most haven't kept their feelings a secret.

It’s understandable really, given countless people have found

'The One' in the office. And since we spend so much time at work, why not dabble in a bit of workplace love?

A study by Ryerson University in Canada even confirmed that most employees don’t mind if their

colleagues date, so long as the team’s performance and work environment aren’t disrupted.

The reality, though, is that it can be an awkward and uncomfortable experience. Rumours and gossip are inevitable. Someone might view a friendly request for a date as harassment. And messy break-ups could easily be on public display.

Research conducted by Westminster University found no evidence that an office romance impacts negatively on productivity ... until the lovebirds break up. And in most cases, the relationship ends while the couple still works together, with the ongoing tension making it difficult to move on.

But sometimes the attraction between two colleagues is too strong to resist. They just have to be together. So, for guidance, I spoke to Helaine Olen, the co-author of Office Mate: The Employee Manual for Finding and Managing Romance on the Job. She shared with me her dos and don’ts for matters of love at work.

First, the don’ts.

1. If you’re going to ask someone out on a date, don’t do it in the office

“If you don’t know them well enough to get them out of the office, you probably shouldn’t be asking them,” she says. “First, why would you want everybody to hear? Second, you’re putting the other person in a really bad position. And third, it could look like you’re using the workplace to get


2. Just because it’s an office romance doesn’t mean you conduct it in the office

“That means not going to coffee or lunch together,” she warns, and that includes the coincidental catch-ups at the photocopy machine or the discreet little chats in the tearoom. She adds: “It means being more professional than you were before you were dating.”

3. Do not use company property to send messages to your loved one

Employees often forget they lose much of their right to privacy when they use company-owned computers, phones, and other technological devices.

“The IT guys might read this stuff,” says Olen, “and if you think it doesn’t happen, you’re wrong; it does. It’s not private at all.”

Well, that’s what to avoid. Here’s what to do:

1. Make sure you have more than just the workplace in common

“Familiarity breeds friendship,” she says. “If you’re only talking about your boss, maybe that’s a sign this wasn’t meant to be.”

Workplace couples often think they have a lot in common, but on many occasions it’s not true. They feel as though they have heaps in common, but usually it’s just because they wo

rk together.

2. Stay connected with other colleagues at work

“You and your loved one are not a self-contained unit,” she advises. “Make sure you don’t do that thing where you’re so in love that you let go of all your friends and co-workers. It’s bad on a professional level.”

3. Spend time after hours at places where you won’t bump into co-workers

The local bar near the office, for example, is a bad choice. When colleagues see colleagues getting intimate – even when it’s outside of work – it fuels the fire of workplace gossip. “If you give people something to gossip about, they will,” says Olen. “It’s enormously entertaining when this stuff goes on.”

Enormously entertaining, yes, but rarely for the couple involved.

twitter Follow James Adonis on Twitter @jamesadonis

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This is the first time I’ve been in an office situation long enough to even think about it. I’ve thought/dreamt about the guy who quality checks my work but it wasn’t romantically. Not really. I mean I once dreamt we were in bed together but we weren’t doing anything naughty or interesting. In fact all I can remember now is I kept checking to see if he was still asleep because I wanted to go for a wee without him hearing. In the morning I thought, this is about work not lust. Rather me wanting to be able to do my job without his help; or at least more independently than I am at the moment. I do hate needing to ask for help and unfortunately I don't, or not right away. I HAVE to though. Been told numerous times.

In training I was told that office romances happen but so far I haven’t noticed anything. Maybe some flirting but I’ve never been good at picking up on that and I can’t report any flirting aimed at me. Everyone seems younger than me anyway and that’s not really my style. I should be flattered but…early twenties freaks me out! I don’t want to be seen or perceived as a Cougar at thirty-one! I don’t feel like being a “teacher” to these younger men because I don’t think I’ve got the experience. (Such nice bodies though. Sigh!) At the other end of the scale I don’t want to seem like a mail order bride, (good time not to be Asian or Eastern European looking), or a sweet-tooth with her sugar daddy when I’m seen with older men either. It’s like I’ve always wondered? Why aren’t I good enough for men my own age? (Some older men’s bodies are all right but they don’t always work as well as they used to).

This is really straying from the topic now but I want a baby. I always did but now that I’m older it doesn’t feel like something I can put off as easily. My cousin had a baby a couple of weeks ago. That’s me and him below. And the daughter of one of my mum’s best friends had a baby nearly two months ago. Some of my friends have babies now and I love them all. My dad’s death has made me think about it more as well. One of the first things I thought after I was told he died was that he should have been a grandfather. My mother seems keen on becoming a grandmother. She says she needs someone new to pour her love into, to paraphrase. She also wants to have the energy to enjoy grandchildren. I know I want one but I don't know how it will happen. I mean it doesn't seem like a possibility at the moment. And yeah, that gets me down a bit.

1 comment:

The world according to Gaz said...

Don't sweat it Amy , it will come and i hope your ready to take it all on. Does this mean that Terry is out of the picture? We realy should catch up.