So it shouldn’t be of any surprise that at times, these bonds turn into friendship, then into affection, then romance. Thus, the infamous dreaded, hush-hush, sometimes taboo office romance is born.
According to surveys conducted by various human resource departments and employment headhunters, more than 18 per cent of men have admitted to having some romantic attraction and affection towards a co-worker of the opposite sex, this compared to only 8 per cent for women.
Some say at times it may border on sexual harassment, especially if only one party is interested, and unwanted or uninterested by their target crush. This is when the workplace crush can get uncomfortable and presents a potential minefield of etiquette and office politics. This is particularly so for those who are on the receiving end of the ‘unwanted’ attention, and not enjoying, wanting or having the time for it.
Some experts in office romance dynamics advises the best way to prevent any potential conflict is to act at its early stages, and put a stop to it, using a direct strict approach. Be polite, yet forthright is still the best way to ease any insecurities, while maintaining a professional presence and still getting on with work.
If an interested party has made their move and their intent is clear and unambiguous, your best strategy, if you are not interested, is to be remain calm and stay polite, but be direct and forthright while firmly drawing the boundaries.
By being firm, say you do not share the same feelings, or something similar to that effect, say something like; ‘If its okay with you, I’d appreciate if we could continue remaining on a professional level.’
Sexual Behavior at Work:
There was a recent study on a variety of over 250 workers who held various positions in their companies, that even ‘off the wall’ jokes may seem a bit innocuous, and can be unproductive as well as debilitating, even when they claim that they enjoy it from time to time.
Not surprisingly, males view sexual talk on the workplace as a fun pastime, while women, …well not so much. Women on the most part, don’t actually enjoy any type of direct sexual attention, or remarks focused on them directly. They however do not mind such remarks or jokes that aren’t directed at no one in particular, which is still part of the workplace culture.
The more some of these employees experience any type of sexual behavior towards them at work, the more they seem to withdraw from their work, and the worse they feel of their psychological well being.
It is a natural response at the workplace to show expressions of interest, but it may not be considered sexual harassment. But once it begins to affect actual productivity, that’s when it changes. Once the ability to perform the job adequately is compromised, then that is a reason to bring attention to the matter.
If you have a calm, yet assertive conversation, not related to work, it can at times usually quell discomfort in the office. When a co-worker of the opposite sex, when approached is let down in a subtle, yet professional manner. If the unwanted attention however continues, the best resort may be to follow up with the (HR) human resources department, or, in smaller companies, discuss it with an immediate supervisor. If it becomes threatening or even intimidating, make sure you document everything.
The women in the workplace in particular at times may be embarrassed or even fearful of this sensitive issue. They do not want to be seen as a victim or they may worry how it’s going to look in front of their peers or the boss.
It’s all about the Power Dynamic