Office romances: Best kept secrets from HR

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While HR professionals like to believe they are the confidantes for people in the organisation, the sounding board for all concerns, the reality is far from it

There is no specific time or place for when or where the cupid might strike and hence, office romances are not really a mammoth deal as they are mostly perceived. And still, most people prefer to stay tight-lipped about it.

While HR professionals like to believe they are the confidantes for people in the organisation — the sounding board for all concerns— the reality is far from it. A recent survey revealed that less than five per cent of workers would want to tell their HR team if they were in a workplace relationship. Moreover, the survey says, only 42 per cent would do it, even if their company policy required employees to do so. Interestingly, men were found to be twice as likely to keep an office romance a secret.

About 40 per cent of the participants of the survey Love @ Work, conducted by Namely, indicated that they have engaged in an intimate relationship with a co-worker.

Most people admitted that they refrain from sharing their heart out with their HR because they feel that HR will not keep it confidential. Clearly a trust issue, only 14 per cent fully trusted their HR team in this regard. Making matters worse, nearly half of the workers had little-to-no confidence that HR would keep the romance confidential. In other words, they view their HR team as friends of the business, not of the employees.

People prefer sharing it with friends outside work, or their families, or even no one at all, at times.

As per the survey, 70 per cent of office sweethearts report that their relationship does not affect productivity. In fact, about half of the remainder say that it actually boosted their productivity.

Not so surprisingly, despite how common workplace relationships are, 61 per cent respondents revealed their companies did not have written policies around the same. There are policies around sexual harassment, tackling situations where relationships might turn sour or abusive. However, there are none around safe romancing that do not affect the work environment negatively.

Well, the survey certainly hints at one thing— that HR cannot afford to police around for office sweethearts or people will further push away from opening up with them.

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