Last Updated 28 Jul 2020

Workplace romances

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It is a fact that in today's world that workplace romances is increasing. Companies are left with difficult decisions on what they are going to do about it and whether they will do anything at all. There are two outlooks people may have on this fact. One is that it is a huge problem, which will lead to sexual harassment lawsuits and a hostile work environment. Another is that the work environment will become one close friendly unit where people feel comfortable working together and have no secrets.

The fact is that it is unlikely that either of these scenarios will result. The issue of office romance is too complicated for an easy answer to occur. Every person is different so each instance will have to be treated accordingly. What might be a huge problem in one company could be an asset in the other. The company's perspective of office romance as changed to one extreme to another over the last 40 years. At first it was common and well known that these romances occurred and it was acceptable that a male boss have sexual relations with a female secretary for example.

But then in the 70's and 80's companies saw these relations as a threat to their business because of sexual harassment lawsuits and jealous work environments. So during these decades companies often took a strict stand on this issue and implemented no dating policies. But now in today's world most companies have realized the undeniable fact that no matter what policy you put into affect office romances are going to happen. It is in today's world where companies are looking for realistic ways of dealing with these romances.

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Companies may wonder why these relationships happen but even though some companies may frown upon these relations they understand why they happen. Human nature in it self is a reason why these romances occur. All people have a sexual drive and if this can be solved by a romance at work than so be it. Also the main reasons why office romances have been increasing is the nature of work in today's world. In the workforce today companies are demanding employees to put in extra time and to stay at work for up to 60 hours a week.

This allows more interactions among fellow employees and shows that if the worker is that busy where are they going to be able to meet people. Often employees are forced to work into the nights or even on the weekends so this will make office romances much more likely. Also another reason why office romances may be increasing is the fact that more companies demand employees to make more business trips. If your with a business team for long periods of time and travelling together on the road living in the same hotel it is only human nature for something sexual to happen.

Also it is proven that in some circumstances a team of employees will work to get better results than someone working individually. Someone could get very close to a group member and then you have another instance of office romance. Perhaps the biggest reason why office romances have been increasing is that as time has gone on more women have entered the workplace in general and more women have entered in managerial positions. This is a big reason why there are more instances of office romances. Also a sexual relation could be between a female boss and a male subordinate.

This kind of relation allows people to overlook the stereotypes of the past. But the bottom line to most work romances is that they start from friendship. With the busy schedules of workers today their best friends are working partners. Conversations at the water cooler or shared coffee breaks or lunch breaks are where people develop friendships that last a long time. People just don't have the time to go to bars or go on dates. Also these friendships will in a lot of cases lead into long term relationships. Not every office fling is an affair or a behind the scenes type of relation.

A lot of office romances do lead to long term relationships or even marriage. In general there are four motives to workplace romance. There is the love motive where the two people involved sincerely love each other and this mutual feeling leads into a long-term relationship. There is the ego motive where one or two of the involved parties is just looking for a fling or searching for personal rewards such as excitement, adventure or sexual experience. There is the job motive where one of the persons is looking for a pay raise or promotion or maybe even looking for job security.

The last of the four motives is the power motive. The power motive is where one or two of the people involved is looking to increase their position in the company or seeking more visibility. No matter what motive an employee has in the office romance they are occurring and there isn't really anything the company can do about it. Each relation presents a different possible problem or in a lot of cases there is no problem at all. Office romances are looked at from two very different perspectives. From the top of the company there is a very conservative outlook upon office romances.

These are the people that are worried about sexual harassment cases or productivity in the work environment. A lot of times the company will implement rules or policies in which they hope to protect their company from any lawsuits. An average employee will not be as conservative in their outlook on a workplace romance. To them finding true companionship is harder than finding a job. People will take the risk of losing their job because they believe that they will be able to find another one fairly easily. Finding what someone may hope to be true love is worth the risk because people are worried about finding the right person.

The public debate is polarized between those who believe sex in the workplace doesn't belong and those who believe it is okay as long as it is between consenting adults. In the terms of the business world employers realize that new and creative solutions are needed to deal with the changing work world and the increase in office romances. Many companies frown on relationships at work. Some usually American firms make these relationships a firing offense. The prime motive for this is the fear of a sexual assault lawsuit after a failed romance.

Others do not outright ban office romances but make it known that if you are in one your chance of promotion is limited. Many experts agree that these approaches do not work. Statistically, sexual harassment lawsuits after a failed relationship are rare. Sexual harassment suits are usually about bullying where sex is a tool not from a failed romance. Blanket bans on relationships are hard to enforce, love will find a way. If one employee is terminated because of an affair it certainly won't make their significant other pleased with the company. Realistically the firm has lost two valuable employees.

One strategy that has been suggested is to be discrete until the relationship is firmly established and then tell management before the affair has become public knowledge. The couple in the relationship must make it known and demonstrate to fellow colleagues their commitment to their team and company. Even to the point where you disagree with your romantic partner on work issues. The office of the past is much different than the office of the present. The office in the past was dull and formal, where a job was for life and practically no one was fired.

Today's office in contrast is more of a home away from home, and it being likely only a temporary one. Mergers, down sizing and the ability of employees to change careers several times in their life forces the work world to be more dynamic than it has been in the past. The increase in relationships between fellow employees due to the changing work world, most companies believe is inevitable . The extended time spent together and the lack of time to form outside relationships makes it only natural that these romances form.

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