By: Jotham Mukundi Gichuhi- Human Resource, Leadership and Business turnaround Strategist (A & J Global Consultants; email address- jgichuhi@ajglobalconsult.com

The above question leaves many questions than answers, an aspect that gets complicated by some global statistics that claim that more than 50% of the interviewed staff had been involved in an office affair (Vault.com, 2019). Workplace romance is not an issue that impacts just a handful of rogue employees noting that a surprising 72% of those over 50 years old have been romantically involved with a coworker. Managing a working relationship with a structured relationships policy is a more open-minded tactic in that some argue that some of the affairs end up in successful unions or marriage if you like.

How do work affairs start?

Social psychologists argue that just the mere exposure to someone can increase our attraction to them hence a cause to worry. Office affairs develop in most cases due to the catalyst of repeated exposure to the same coworkers day after day, naturally fueling more attraction. Also, the fact that being together may present a natural opportunity to credibly know, for example, that their coworker is at least responsible enough to hold down a job and is likely to be a responsible partner. Also, most employees may not be in the know about their company’s policy or stand regarding office romances, and that is the beginning of the problem.

Dangers of office affairs and way forward

Although some office affairs end up in serious long-term relationships, the majority of them end in disaster, disappointment, and reduced morale at the workplace. Broken marriages, dissimilatory practices where a senior executive is involved, and sexual harassment accusations among other negatives. Whether to fire or not is not the key focus in this discussion going by the adage that, “prevention is better than cure” To strike a good balance in your policy, make it clear that when anyone begins an affair with a colleague, they must abide by some clauses like; (1) Employees should report to the management team about the relationship, preferably as soon as it is common knowledge in the workplace (2) Some organizations will provide a timeline within which one of the staff looks out for another job and in the meantime outline any behavior that must not occur in the workplace and during work hours (3) The management reserves the right to relocate the affected employee to an alternate team or department if the office affair could involve a conflict of interest.

For the married, drink from your cistern!!!

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