Since women joined the workforce in significant numbers in the early 1960’s the number of people who met their future partner through an office romance has steadily increased, but we’re now told the trend is reversing.
In 1990, 20% of people had an office romance that led to a long-term partnership, but by 2009 this had reduced to 10%; on-line dating being blamed for the change.
Many workplaces try to discourage office romances between colleagues, not because they don’t want people to be happy but because if it goes wrong it can create terrible fallout between work colleagues.
As Valentine’s Day approaches once again how do you know if there’s an office romance brewing?
There are 10 tell-tale signs that an office romance is on the cards.
- They avoid eye contact, becoming almost too formal with one another, barely making eye contact
- They never leave the office together, often making a point of advertising the fact that they are leaving separately
- When they’re not overtly advertising that they’re leaving separately, they’re both putting in extra hours, both arriving early or both leaving late
- You walk into a room and feel like you’re interrupting a private joke, they talk about the same films, the same books, you feel that you’re intruding.
- They start fiercely defending one another against perceived criticism, often unnecessarily.
- Their sick leave and holidays keep coinciding; quizzing them about what they did on their time off generates a bland, non-committal answer.
- They both look good, she always wears makeup and stylish outfits, he’s started jogging at lunchtime and their tastes have changed; she follows football now, he enjoys Rom Coms.
- The previous ‘open door’ policy has gone awry, with the office door always closed and ‘confidential meetings’ always involving the two of them.
- They seem to drive to work together, even if they don’t live in the same direction, and they’re seen sometimes dropping one another off round the corner from the office rather than at the front door.
- Their work rate and performance has taken a nose-dive
And sadly, it’s that last one that causes the problem in the workplace. Work colleagues who are having to pick up the slack for their ‘loved up’ workmates can become resentful very quickly. A watchful eye and a careful word from an observant manager can do an awful lot to stop an office romance becoming the source of tension, resentment and negativity.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565 332 to discuss how we may help you.