Considering the average person spends most of their waking hours at work than any other place, it is a common ground where people come together with the intention to earn an income. But often, work life and personal life merge without warning opening a welcome path to romance. The “romance” hat has no business in business!
As a business owner, you protect yourself and your future livelihood with insurance policies as many and varied as the hats you wear. From workers compensation to income protection, life insurance, key man insurance, public liability and professional indemnity, you practice work-safe strategies to minimise the risk of accidents and losses but there is no insurance for the biggest risk of all which can cost you more in the short and long term than an insurance policy could quantify or cover.
Workplace romance between business owner and colleagues not only has an impact on your bottom-line by distracting your time, focus and energy it also reduces productivity, causes rifts amongst staff, impacts both your business and home life, even more significant where a married person is involved as you stand jeopardising ripping families apart. You also put yourself at risk of legal implications which can bury a business.
Even though you might commonly believe you can’t fight love, things just happen, nobody consciously sets out with the intention for anything to evolve, nor having the foresight to predict the ramifications, the truth is these are excuses for losing control of the controllable and placing business at risk. Take responsibility for every aspect of your business.
The most obvious way to reduce the risk is not employing someone you are attracted to from the get-go. Whilst there are many attractive people in the world there are certain people who naturally spark your interest. Before you employ someone ask yourself if “I met this person in a social situation would I be interested in dating them or if I wasn’t married would I be interested in dating them” if the answer yes, avoid and keep looking for other suitable candidates.
When running a small to medium business it’s common to have friendly multi-level respectful relationships with your staff and co-workers. They look up to you for guidance and come to you to help strategise the management of a problem, whenever you put on the coaching/psychologist hat to help someone through a particular personal problem especially a relationship breakdown it creates a deeper bond fused with a combination of emotions involving both parties. Where there are intense emotions on the surface the lure of vulnerability and the potency of heroism is a powerful driver to lines becoming blurred.
Spending time with staff outside business hours is often necessary especially if you required to travel. Socialising and building rapport has many positive effects, but also create opportunities for workplace crashes to be acted upon. Be aware of the warning signs of a growing attraction and deal with them accordingly before they have the chance to wreak havoc on your business.
Business can be a lonely game and it is easy to fall into the trap of lapping up support and attention whilst not being conscious where it may lead. Be aware of the signs and act in accordance to the long-term goals not the instant gratification, its risky enough being in business without adding risqué into the equation.
Louanne Ward, Relationship Strategist, Writer and Motivational Speaker