Career and professional work takes top priority in the lives of a majority of the people these days. Due to this, people spend long hours in the workplace to achieve the targets set by the company, get bonuses or get well-deserved promotions. While working with dedication, people also start interacting with others in the workplace. Teamwork and coordination becomes the foundation of a healthy work environment. However, you know what can really spoil this prosperous work environment? Office affairs, either between colleagues or between the employee and the boss.
Having an affair with someone who works in the same office can be really easy and convenient
Why do office affairs take place?
The office is a place where you spend most of your time every day. You work with different kinds of people in your office. There might be a few of them who match your wavelength and as a result of which you become close to them. From among them, you might find someone attractive and you might end up having an affair with that person. But why do office affairs take place? Have you ever thought about it?
Here are some of the reasons which have made workplace affairs so rampant across the world.
- There are people in the office who share your work interests and professional goals. So, the possibility of developing a relationship with someone who understands you professionally will obviously make you feel tempted
- The work you do might create distance between your family and you. You might not be able to give enough time to your family. However, when you want someone by your side, you turn to the office people for understanding. One of them might become romantically involved with you, by continuously supporting you
- While working with someone in the office, to accomplish a set goal, you might develop a different connection with that person. Due to the time spent together and efforts made to achieve the goal, the connection might turn into an intimate relationship
- Business trips, business parties, business dinners, etc. have become so common that you keep meeting the office people, even after work hours. This might give you the opportunity to build a special relationship with someone who shows interest in you and your personal life
- Having an affair with someone who works in the same office can be really easy and convenient for you
How do office affairs start?
Work culture, work environment and work life in the modern days have made office affairs an extremely widespread phenomenon. This is how office affairs usually start:
- Two colleagues develop a partnering relationship with each other and try to strive towards achieving common targets in the workplace
- While working together, they develop trust and continuously depend on each other for guidance and ideas
- Overtime, feelings of unity and attachment develop between the two colleagues and they start sharing not only professional ideas, but also personal details about their lives
- Suddenly, they start finding each other attractive in a sexual way
- Ultimately, what starts as a purely professional relationship between two colleagues turns into an office affair
39% of workers had relationships in the office, at least once.
Facts associated with office affairs
Let us go through some interesting facts associated with office affairs as revealed by the survey, conducted by CareerBuilder in the year 2013 for around 4,000 workers:
- 39% of workers had relationships in the office, at least once
- 17% of workers had relationships in the office, at least twice
- 30% of workers married their co-workers after having office affairs
- Office romance is common in industries such as leisure and hospitality, information technology, financial industry, healthcare and professional and business service industry
- 20% of workers said they were attracted to those who had similar jobs to them
- 35% of workers said they had to keep their office affairs hidden
Having an affair with the boss
Affairs in the office take place not just between two colleagues working and collaborating together. Affairs between the employee and the boss are also very common. The survey mentioned above reported that 16% of workers dated their boss. In addition, 36% of women and 21% of men were likely to have an affair with someone who is higher up in the hierarchy of the organisation.
When you consider having an affair with your boss, you have to keep the following things in mind:
- If your company has a policy against office affairs, then it is you who will suffer the consequences, not your boss
- Your boss might start interfering with your work and it might hurt your ego that he/she is showing you undue favour
- If the affair between your boss and you ends, then consider the pain you will have to go through, each and every time you meet your boss in the workplace
- There is a high chance that the boss has had an affair with some other employee before, since he/she is so okay with the idea of office affairs
Related reading: This happy couple and their open marriage
Your boss will seem attractive to you because of the power and authority he/she has in the office. But you need to control yourself and remember that an affair with the boss will make your life complicated. Thus, it is better to avoid it at all cost. You should know how to protect yourself from a workplace affair.
General guidelines on affairs in the corporate world
Office affairs can give rise to a lot of complications, in not only the lives of the two people involved but also in the lives of other co-workers and the workplace, in general. Therefore, having a clear set of guidelines on affairs is significant for any company. First of all, the company has to decide whether it wants to ban office affairs completely or not. A complete ban is not possible in today’s corporate world, but then certain guidelines can be set to govern office affairs and romances.
- Strongly discourage any kind of romantic involvement between the colleagues or the supervisors and the subordinates
- If an affair occurs between any supervisor and subordinate, then the subordinate has to be reassigned to another supervisor
- Encourage disclosure so that problems from such office affairs can be dealt with smartly
- Get the people involved in the office affair to sign a document which should mention that their relationship is based on mutual consent
- Disseminate knowledge about the policy of sexual harassment of the company to all the employees
- Advice the people engaged in office affairs to avoid public display of affection in the workplace
- Keep a check on the reaction and opinion of other employees in relation to the affairs that have been disclosed
- Take the help of a legal advisor to formulate effective policy and guidelines for affairs in the workplace
With proactive and efficient guidelines in place, the company can avoid getting caught in the complex web of office affairs.
12 ways in which office affairs harm
No doubt that when you have an affair with someone in the office, that person understands you like no other person in your life. He/she shares work pressures and common interests with you. So, it is not uncommon that you get attracted to that person who understands the demands of your work. Falling in love with a person who works with you is considered to be much safer than meeting someone absolutely new in your life.
An office affair leads to collaboration and sharing of ideas and can be a good source of influence on both the people involved. However, there are downsides to it.
1. Office affairs can lead to absenteeism
If you have a breakup with the affair partner, obviously you will not want to run into that person. But if you are working together, then avoiding that person will be difficult. In order to avoid meeting your ex in the workplace, you might avoid coming to work and this will lead to continuous absenteeism.
2. You can end up losing your job
This can happen if your company has clearly policies against office affairs or has clear rules regarding office affairs which your partner and you fail to follow.
3. Your love life can become the subject of office gossip
Once you start an affair with someone in the workplace, rumours might spread like wild fire in the office. The constant eyes on your partner and you in the office will eventually create bitterness in your relationship.
4. Office affairs can create legal consequences
Your partner can file a sexual harassment case against you to take revenge, especially if you were the one who ended the relationship with him/her.
5. Your affair can destroy an already established relationship
This is for those of you who have a relationship with a married person. It will be very shameful if your affair with a married man/woman destroys a long and serious relationship he/she had with their significant other. Extra marital affairs in the office usually don’t have good consequences.
6. It can create an extremely hostile work environment
Your colleagues might not be very happy with the idea of you dating the boss or another colleague. They might show their disapproval by making things difficult for you in the workplace and create a hostile work environment for you.
7. Your objectivity and fairness will be doubted
This holds true for those in positions of power in the office hierarchy. If you are having an affair with a subordinate then your decision-making ability and fairness will be doubted in each and every aspect. This is a real downside of affairs in the workplace because people start doubting your credentials.
8. Your reputation can get damaged permanently
Your reputation has to be protected and remain intact, if you want to do well professionally. But, if you get caught in an office affair, then your reputation might get tarnished beyond repair.
9. Office affairs can never remain smooth and peaceful
Personal matters might influence the professional interaction between your partner and you. Conflicts of interest and confrontations may arise, especially if one of you is a superior. This will obviously make your relationship really shaky and disappointing.
10. Your career can be at risk due to the affair
Due to an office affair gone wrong, you might not get promoted or get enough opportunities to climb the organisational hierarchy. You might even get fired, which will make your curriculum vitae look bad to other companies to which you might apply.
11. Success of one person can cause jealousy in the other person
If one person involved in the office affair does well and gets promoted, then his/her partner might get jealous. The relationship might become bitter due to the jealousy and things might end badly. This will be true especially in the case of those two people who are on the same level of the organisational hierarchy.
12. Your work performance will deteriorate
An office affair means you will remain distracted during your work hours. This can affect your work performance. You might not be able to give your 100% in the workplace and this might not be good for you in the long run.
So, before jumping into any concrete conclusions about office affairs, ask yourself a few questions. Does an office affair work? Should you get involved in one? Will you be able to manage it? Does an office affair just have negative consequences or also positive effects? Once you are able to answer these questions honestly, you will be able to decide for yourself whether an office affair is a good option for you or not.