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Relationships at Work

One of the most amazing things about work is the ability to establish wonderful relationships based on shared interest in our area of work. Each company's unique work environment will determine the extent to which employees are permitted to develop and maintain personal relationships at work. When developing a policy around workplace relationships, keep these things in mind.


Professionalism is paramount in the workplace. Professionalism maintains a high standard of behavior so that we maintain a high standard of work. Each and every business owner I know strives for delivering the best product or service and professionalism is a foundational element. As people become close to each other at work, we continue to expect everyone to treat each other with respect, to work together as a team especially in the face of challenges, and to strive to do our best at our given job.


When managers engage in close personal relationships with staff, those relationships should remain platonic. If the relationship changes, it is best for you to require the manager to notify the company of the change as soon as possible. Managers and their staff have different levels of power within a company, and it is typically inappropriate for someone to be engaged in a romantic relationship with their subordinate. If this does happen, often there are ways to rearrange work so that there is no longer a manager-subordinate relationship among the employees engaged in a romantic relationship.

When Things End

Policies around relationships at work typically include a section about behavior when things end. Generally this points back to professionalism, respect, continuing to work together as a team, and not sabotaging the other party. It is tough when relationships end, especially when you have to see the person every day at work. We encourage people to think about this possibility before beginning a romantic relationship with a co-worker.

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