The Richmond Register

October 19, 2013

Workplace relationships could cost you your job

By Jennifer Napier
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — “Hey, did you meet the new hire? I really like the person. They seem very easy to get along with,” one employee states to a co-worker.

The co-worker smiles and replies, “I got the chance to work with the new hire last week and they mentioned that they are single. You two seem like a good match. Maybe you should go out one night.”

A few more weeks go by. You and the new hire seem to get along extremely well. You find that you can’t wait to get to work on days when the new hire is scheduled to be there. As a matter of fact, you hate the days you are off, or when your schedules conflict, because those days seem long and boring.

Eventually, flirting begins and a romance builds. The two of you begin to focus more on each other than you do on your jobs. You’ve begun dating outside of work and the relationship has carried over into the workplace. Your personal conversations and actions at work begin to annoy and irritate co-workers.

The danger with workplace romances are that they tend to be brief, unstable and cause serious problems for co-workers. Workplace romances also tend to lower the maturity level, dependability, reliability, and work ethics of the two co-workers involved in the romance.

More often than not, workplace romances affect the productivity of not only the two individuals who are involved, but also the productivity of their co-workers or their department.

When the romance is going well, the two tend to spend extra time talking instead of working, or sneaking off to spend time in each other’s work assignment areas.

They will also tend to abuse break and lunch time restrictions, miss work, call in sick, ask to leave early, or create excuses for why they can no longer work their regularly scheduled hours.

Co-workers get tired of the drama. They don’t want to get stuck working extra hours at the last minute because a co-worker called in sick, needed to leave early, or came in late so they could hang out with their mate, instead of work their scheduled shift.

When the workplace romance goes bad, they two individuals create a very stressful work environment for not only themselves, but also for their co-workers.

A relationship break-up is never easy, but when the two who break up are required to work together as a team, it makes for a very tough work environment. Tension, anger, hurt feelings and communication problems are not conducive to a productive work environment and can create circumstances that will become grounds for termination from employment.

If you become involved in a relationship with a co-worker, demonstrate your maturity level by leaving the romance off the clock and never letting the relationship affect the quality and quantity of work you are employed to perform.

Be a role model employee, not a termination case study.