Relationships in the workplace

Relationships in the workplace

Be it personal or professional, one is bound to build relationships in the workplace. However, the catch is how one handles them, as they can lead to success as well as downfall of an individual in his career. Here are a few aspects about relationships at work that one should consider so that bonding with a colleague does not boomerang.

It’s true that workplace is where we put to use all the business acumen and skills that we acquire through training and experience. However, all of us know that work is not just numbers and negotiations. It is so much more about relationships – with colleagues, with the boss, other employees, and also with business partners. Besides, relations that are based purely on professional grounds, getting emotionally close to co-workers at workplace is also a common occurrence. This should not come as a surprise. Given the fact that we spend so much time at the workplace and (at times) face difficult situations along with our colleagues, emotional closeness is bound to happen.

Camaraderie at workplace is desired by every management. However, romantic relationships with one’s co-worker is still largely viewed as being against workplace ethics. In this article, we will first deal with relationships in the workplace that are purely platonic and then with those that cross the boundaries of being “just friends”.

Dynamic Relationships :

Your performance at the end of the month may depend upon the targets achieved. However, it’s not just your skills that decide your success. Your personality and the way you are perceived as a person in your workplace goes a long way in getting you the opportunities that you need to prove yourself and also to succeed in those. The following are a few tips that would help one in maintaining a positive image in the workplace:

Be Professional but Approachable:

Obviously you are at your office to work. Make clear to everyone that work comes first for you. However, don’t be aloof. If others need help and you can help them, make that extra effort. However, stay away from delving into things that are of a very personal nature. This is a good way of building relationships that will stand one in good stead.

Set Your Boundaries:

Being approachable may be taken by many, that they can come to you with any problem that they have. As long as the problems are professional, it’s okay. However, be careful of the personal ones. Give a clear hint to your co-workers that you are approachable, but only up to a limit. Maintain your professional ethics. Guard your privacy carefully and stay away from personal affairs of others. Striking the right balance between professional and personal aspects is the mantra for success at workplace.

Stay Away from Gossip:

Workplace communication is desirable. However, office gossips are very harmful for both an organization as well as for its employees. Indulging in gossip is good time – wasted. If ever a talk steers towards gossip, try to turn it towards a positive direction. If that does not work, politely excuse yourself out of the conversation.

Know Who to Trust:

Despite having said about maintaining a professional relationship in the workplace, everyone needs to share his/her thoughts that may not be absolutely of a professional nature. Each one of us has a friend in our workplace with whom we share a close bond. However, before deciding on such a person, be sure that he is not one who would show sympathy to you and then talk about you behind your back. There are a lot of people in the workplace who wait on opportunities to tarnish the image of their co-workers for personal gain.

Volunteer for Extra Responsibilities:

Some unexpected work (by this I mean only those that are of professional nature) always comes up at the workplace. If you think you can solve the problem, volunteer to help, even if that means that some extra efforts have to be made. However, be sure that the extra responsibility won’t hurt your targets. This attitude will surely make your seniors perceive you as an asset for the organization.

Romantic Relationships

A recent survey has shown that almost one-third of the working population in the United States is in a relationship with their co-workers. Well, this are certainly inevitable. But how safe or worthwhile are they? The first drawback of such relationships are the effects on both the parties in case such a relationship fails. Workplace break-ups can be quite disruptive, personally, no doubt about that. But what raises a grave concern is that such break ups can be harmful for one’s career as well. There are a number of instances when one has had to give up a lucrative job because of break up with a colleague. No wonder then, that most seasoned professionals always advice to keep professional and personal lives separate.

Not to forget office gossip! Although a couple may be absolutely committed to each other, office gossip can definitely take a toll on the most sincere relationship. Besides this, there is the added danger of being perceived as a flighty, foolish and irresponsible person as affairs in office are still largely considered as inappropriate relationships at the workplace. In many cases for those who date their senior, success is often viewed more as a result of favor from their partner rather than their personal efficiency. One needs to be careful about these affairs as instances of using consensual relationships as charges of sexual harassment, are not unknown.

In case you are attracted to someone in the office, think carefully how much you feel for him/her. If you really think that the relationship has to be taken further, be sure that you both agree that in office, the relationship between the two of you will be strictly professional. It may seem absurd, but it would be wise to consider if working together would be possible in case the relationship does not work out.

Be it professional or personal, relationships in the workplace are inevitable. It is very important to portray the right image in office as that can ensure one’s success. On the other hand, getting embroiled in an emotional relationship and inability to handle it can spell disaster for one’s career.


Author: Laura

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