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Office romances: Don't let the heart rule the head

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by Tony Wilmot, co-founder, staffbay.com

There is often much hand-wringing by management when two members of staff decide to enter a relationship, but in my opinion, those in charge shouldn't dawdle

Office romances can disrupt the equilibrium of the office environment. They can impinge of individuals' performance and infringe on their professional duties. Imagine, for example, having to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend that they're fired. The fall-out could be catastrophic.

Furthermore, there could be instances were one person in the relationship could be accused of favouritism, which could harm the morale of other colleagues in the office.

As with any couple, there is always the danger that the relationship will end. This could cause disaster for both the individuals involved and the company as a whole. Stop for a moment to consider the consequences of the break-up of a relationship, and the damage that could cause to your business.

In extreme cases, the legal issue has to be considered. The end of a relationship can bring forward cases of sexual harassment, especially if one of the individuals refuses to accept that the relationship is over. This can
be a costly and time-consuming process, and could lead to the entire workforce becoming distracted.

With all this in mind, it is essential you make your staff aware of your policy on office relationships as soon as you hire them. A recent survey showed that, in 2012, the average cost to each business from issues relating to office romances was over £65,000, bringing the total cost of office romances to the 200 companies surveyed to in excess of £13 million. Can you afford that off your bottom line?