So, you’ve heard through the grape vine that Richard in IT and Sandra in accounts are ‘having a good time’. Ok, let’s just call it how it is, they are having sex…and supposedly their encounters also happen at work! How could this happen right under your nose? Why didn’t you spot the signs? Oh, that’s right – you had no idea what you should've been looking for. Well, luckily for you (and not so lucky for your sexually driven employees), I have compiled a self-help guide for managers to help you spot the basic signs of office romances. Read these tips and get your workplace back under control.
Sign 1 – They avoid eye contact with each other
If Rachel and Johnny all of a sudden go from being good friends at work to completely avoiding eye contact and acting overly formal with each other, watch out. They are probably trying to over compensate for the fact that they just spent 10 minutes in the stock cupboard together …. (enough said).
Sign 2 – Never seen in the same place together
Like spies, they wait for one to leave a room before the other feels it safe to enter. If two employees are going out of their way to avoid being seen together, they are probably hiding something from you. In the grand scheme of things, you should probably hope they are getting their ‘freak on’ as opposed to something more sinister like siphoning funds from the company! Either way, shady behavior means you need to watch your back (or theirs… it depends whether they are having sex or stealing from you).
Sign 3 – It’s always a private party
Whenever you approach them, they cut their conversation short. They also have their ‘in’ jokes that only they are privy too. Every conversation they have is hilarious and it looks like whenever they are together they are having a whale of a time! Come on … nobody is ever that happy at work; they are definitely up to something!
Sign 4 - They get protective over one another
So, Rachel’s idea isn’t taken seriously in the meeting (it’s a ridiculous idea anyway); but is there really any need for Johnny to jump to her defense and call everyone else idiots for not seeing how ‘amazing, talented, funny, kind, caring and brilliant’ she is? Well if you weren’t sure that they were dating, you are now!
Sign 5 – Vacation leave matches up
Rachel has booked 2 weeks off at the end of month and you have been running around arranging her cover. Johnny also booked a holiday and handed in his request form earlier. You’re so busy you make the mistake of not reading the dates requested. Damn! A rookie mistake. You need to stay alert and watch out for vacation leave and sick days that coincide between your staff. If it matches up, they could be hooking up! Start keeping an eye on them.
Sign 6 – They have nicknames for each other
Nicknames are rarely used in the work place, unless for humorous reasons or to differentiate between the four Bobs who work in the same department. Cutesy nicknames however have no place at work. So, if Johnny starts to refer to Rachel as “honeybee” (cringe!), and if Rachel starts to refer to Johnny as “pookie”, then you know you have trouble on your hands.
Sign 7 – They look fantastic
Rachel and Johnny are attractive, but all of a sudden they are going overboard: dressing to impress, getting spray tans for that ‘all summer glow’, and doing their hair so it’s picture-perfect every day. I mean, who really has the time or energy to turn up to work looking like a model?
Sign 8 – Body consciousness has kicked in
You overhear both Rachel and Johnny talking about keeping trim and maintaining their figures. Why all of a sudden are they attending the gym 4 times per week? Have they started bringing their own salads to work on famous pizza Friday? Watch out for a change in their habits and attitude.
Sign 9 – They are openly flirty with each other
If Rachel and Johnny are flirting outrageously – look out. Most people like a bit of flirtatious fun; a cheeky wink is one thing, but a pinch on the bottom is quite another! Have your employees sign a contract to prevent any unsavory, sexually charged behavior in the office. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can upset other staff members, and land you with a rather unpleasant legal case on your hands.
Sign 10 – They are doing overtime, together
Overtime, together? Come on, this is a dead giveaway. Why would two attractive, single, flirtatious employees choose to do overtime together, when it is not even required of them?! I’ll tell you why – they are having it off in the boardroom while everyone else has gone home! Install fake cameras, put a ban on overtime, do whatever you need to do to lessen the chances of them being able to get it on in the workplace.
If, after taking these 10 pointers onboard, you still have problems with office relationships, then sack all the good-looking people. I’m kidding. On a serious note though, you will need to hold a staff meeting to explain the severity of workplace romances and to inform the culprits that they are in fact breaking office rules. Yes, they might really like each other and tell you they intend to marry (we’ve heard that one before *roll eyes*), but if it does all turn sour, it is you – the boss – that has to pick up the pieces. From a nasty legal case to employees quitting without notice, the negative repercussions of workplace romances can give you a serious headache.