Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What I’m Hearing…Workplace Romance

This week, Business and Legal Reports (BLR) has run a series of articles on workplace romance. The prevailing theme has been “don’t have one, but if you do, document it clearly to prevent a lawsuit.”

Are workplace romances inherently bad? I received Fortune Small Business yesterday. The cover story, Sleeping with the Boss, talks about married couples who run businesses together, and are making it work.

Various studies suggest that 20% of workplace romances become permanent. By extension, 80% end, but the studies don’t tell us if the relationships end at the same company or after one or both of the individuals has moved on to a new job.

Of any relationship that ends, does it have to be a hostile, nasty situation? Can individuals break up and still be friendly, or at least professional? I believe they can.

Workplace romances would appear to have benefits that dating strangers don’t. You see the person at work, so you know if they’re a hard working team player or a loafer before you start dating. You can observe them well before you get involved – at a time when they’re not trying to impress. You can more easily cut through the date chatter meant to impress and get to the person’s personality and the factors that matter in a relationship.

Workplace romances do have risks, to be certain. But for some couples, who’ve made a well thought out decision, taking the gamble could mean all the world.

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