Navigating Workplace Romance

Posted: 02.14.2022
With today being Valentine’s Day, the team at thought it’d be appropriate to address romance in the workplace.

There is nothing new about workplace relationships and it can actually be quite common. But unlike relationships outside of the office, dating in the workplace comes with its own challenges.

So in this article, we are going to discuss some tips on how organizations can effectively handle romance at their office.

1.  Create some rules about having relationships in the office.
You’ll want to create some sort of outline or guide for employees about how relationships in the office should be managed if any ever got into one with another employee. This will help to eliminate any confusion in terms of what is and isn’t allowed or appropriate in the office. Here are some things to consider (but not limited to):
  • Employees must report if they are in a relationship with another co-worker
  • Senior employees (supervisors, managers, etc.) can not date subordinates
  • No public displays of affection, including no written forms (i.e. through email)
  • If an employee doesn’t want to go out with a co-worker, there are no further pursuits to be had
Please ensure all your rules and guidelines have been reviewed by your human resource department. They will also be able to help you with un-packing subjects like workplace sexual harassment and discrimination in relation to dating in an office.

2. Set boundaries and practice etiquette.
You never want to make any employee or office environment feel awkward, uncomfortable, or embarrassed, so it’s important to set boundaries, as well as act polite about inter-office romances. You don’t want to ignore the fact that two people in your office are dating each other, but you don’t want it to be a topic of discussion all the time either. Here are some examples:
  • As an employee, don’t shy away from asking something like “What are your plans for the weekend?” – they are dating just like anyone else outside of the relationship, but don’t pry about it.
  • The occasional joke about a significant other is normal but avoid doing this too much – you have to be mindful that this will put your co-workers in an awkward position about discussing the specifics of the relationship.
Be sure to talk about boundaries and etiquette with your employees so they are clear on the expectations.

3. Take a step back.
This is a hard balance, as you don’t want to get involved in employees’ personal lives, but you are responsible for their work-related responsibilities. Always let your co-workers know that you are there to navigate any questions or concerns, but don’t focus too much on the inter-office romance and trust that they can keep it professional. And just know that if their relationship is impacting their work, you will need to step in and address it.

4. Always have a plan if things don’t work out.
You want to wish your employees the best, but the reality is that just like relationships outside the office – things don’t always work out and you need to have a plan for that. Create some resources for employees that can help navigate the break-up if it should happen. Below are some examples:
  • Transferring an employee to another department, project, office location
  • Bringing in a mediator to help transition the breakup in the office
Always consult with HR about best practices and other ways employees can navigate this without resorting to quitting their jobs. is a full-service recruitment organization, including Website, Career Fairs, full-service Recruitment Division and Outplacement Services. The local focus and advanced features make a vital asset for both job seekers and employers within the Greater Toronto Area. Visit our Online Career Centre for additional articles on Career Development, Personal Branding and more!
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