With romance on the mind for the nation on Valentine’s Day, law firm Royds Withy King has offered advice to businesses on managing workplace relationships.
New research from Adzuna ahead of 14 February shows 66% of Brits have been romantically involved with a colleague while 28% have met their current partner at work. However, 59% of workplace relationships have led to work resignation.
Commenting on the findings, Kate Benefer, Employment Partner at Royds Withy King in Oxford, said:
“A quarter of people meet their life partner at work and the law recognises that people have a right to a private life. In fact in America the use of ‘love contracts’ is on the rise. So while being romantically involved with a colleague or co-worker is not against the law, it is very easy to see how personal relationships in the workplace can become problematic if not managed fairly and sensitively. They can also be a real cause for concern where they involve a supervisor and a direct report, where they impact on team dynamics or could lead to heightened risks around the confidentiality of business information.
“The best way to communicate to workers about what is and isn’t acceptable is with a clear relationships at work policy addressing what needs to be disclosed to managers if they become romantically involved with someone at their place of work, how potential conflicts of interest will be managed and that failing to comply with the policy could result in the termination of their contract.
“It should stress that people will not be treated to their disadvantage because they are romantically involved with a co-worker, but also that harassment will not be tolerated.”
But Valentine’s Day can be fun too.
Bosses – you could write a Valentine’s Day note of gratitude to your staff, buy everyone flowers or chocolate!