Workplace relationships are often the nightmare of any Human Resources Department. The reasons are obvious. One wrong move or one relationship gone wrong and suddenly productivity goes out the window, charges of harassment fly and drama takes over. For just those reasons, most companies have rules about office fraternization between co-workers.
At first glance, Office Mate - The Employee Handbook for Finding and Managing -Romance on the Job by Stephanie Losee and Helaine Olen, appeared to be the type of book that most companies would ban from their office. The frightening suggestion that since you spend most of your time at work that it would be the best place to find a mate is nightmarish. In reality, however, office place romances are quite common whether they are displayed in the open for everyone to see or kept in the closet for whatever reason. With the cover displaying two workers holding hands in front of a water cooler, there is no doubt what the book is about.
Despite the obvious reasons against workplace romances, the book offers sound advice that anyone contemplating chancing their career should follow. For example, one piece of advice that the book offers is to keep your romance out of the electronic media. While it’s tempting to carry on your relationship through the convenience of e-mails sent silently to your partner’s desk e-mails are anything but silent. One wrong misguided e-mail and a secret relationship will open up just like a book for all to see.
Office Mate covers a wide range of relationships including when is it a good idea to date the boss, when your co-worker becomes your office spouse, the ‘conflict of interest” couple, serial office dating and a wide range of possible relationships that could possibly happen in an office setting. The end of each chapter contains “take aways” for lessons that were discussed in each section.
The book also touches on when things go wrong in the office relationship. There are times, more often then not, when the relationship ends badly for whatever reason. Some of the consequences include charges of harassment by the spurned lover, or one or both
parties needing to find employment elsewhere. Office Mate touches on these scenarios with sound advice.
Take heart, there are times when office relationships have a fairytale ending. The once clandestine office couple marries and lives a long productive life together. While this is more the exception than the norm, it does happen. If you are considering having a relationship with a co-worker, the book offers the sound advice of checking with your company policy first.
Office Mate is a book that one should read with caution. While it does offer some appropriate advice on office relationships, some readers will take it as approval to have a relationship with a co-worker even when it is not the best idea. You should take stock of the culture around you to determine if this type of relationship is worth any possible outcomes regardless of whether it’s good or bad. If you decide that the risk is worth it, follow the book’s advice and be aware of any company policy on the matter.