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  • Not today, Cupid: An employer’s guide to navigating romance in the workplace

Not today, Cupid: An employer’s guide to navigating romance in the workplace

Love is in the air, just not in the workplace, please! 3 tips to prepare your business for Valentine’s Day. Get advice on how to manage a budding romance among your staff.

First published on Tuesday, Feb 13, 2024

Last updated on Friday, Feb 09, 2024

3 min read

Valentine’s Day this year falls on Wednesday—a business day. That’s right, the romantic holiday will be spent under your roof—and that means you may need to keep an eye out for workplace romance!

While the prospect of blossoming love is usually something to celebrate, if sparks fly between your staff, it can be risky for you as an employer.

New relationships at work can quickly become complicated and potentially inappropriate. Setting boundaries and ground rules for workplace relationships is advisable in order to preserve a healthy workplace culture and professional workplace relationships. Plus, it can help your workplace avoid harassment claims from employees and higher staff turnover if a romance sours.

So, what can you do to stop Cupid’s arrow from piercing the peace at work? Here are a couple of tips for managers this February to help you avoid those dreaded awkward conversations…

Tip 1. Be alert to unwanted workplace advances

Behaviour that may seem innocent—like passing a note to a co-worker or buying gifts and sending cards, can quickly escalate.
Repeated unwanted and unwelcome advances can leave your staff feeling uncomfortable and reporting the harassment to you.

But you can avoid these situations from taking place by taking the right steps. That’s why it’s important to do your research and find out what you can and can’t do in this situation. Even if staff romance isn’t on the cards, make sure your staff are aware of the behaviours that are and aren’t permitted at work.

Awareness-building e-learning courses on topics including sexual harassment at work can ensure that your workplace is safe, professional, and comfortable for you and your teams.

Tip 2. Prepare your schedule in case your staff get swept off their feet

Don’t let last-minute grand, romantic gestures mess with your productivity. 

Annual leave requests are likely to increase, especially if Valentine’s Day falls within your typical working week. So, this year you should make sure your annual leave systems are up to scratch!

Your staff may choose to rendezvous over a long weekend or a last-minute trip away. Have a reliable system for scheduling your staff, so you can approve or deny requests on the move.

Tip 3. Stop your staff coupling up at work socials

Arranging a work social around this date? Remember your staff have free reign over their personal social lives, what they do outside of work is up to them.

But when it’s on your watch or during work hours, make sure your employee handbook clearly sets out rules for professional conduct at work events.

Don’t break up with your staff. Let BrightAdvice be your workplace love guru and get expert advice on your more complicated HR concerns this Valentine’s Day.

Not a BrightAdvice customer? Discover more about our expert advice line.

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