Do: Love cannot be contained!

The recent firing of McDonald’s global CEO Steve Easterbrook for violating the company’s policy on relationships in the workplace has sparked a conversation about office romances. Should they still be off-limits in 2019?

We asked two people in the retail sector to weigh in on the topic in an online debate. This is the argument for; come back tomorrow for the argument against.

Pro: Charlene Perera, Hush Puppies

Relationships in the workplace are a tricky one. Whilst I can honestly say I have never dipped my nib in the office ink, I know many people who have. Furthermore, I know many successful relationships that have stood the test of time after meeting in the work environment.

Let’s be honest, you’re at work for five days out of a seven-day week, and in most cases it’s more than your standard 40 hours, so it’s not surprising that people are getting doe-eyed at the printer and jiggy after hours.

For any company in 2019, you want your team members to be their authentic selves during work hours; gone are the days where people have a work personality and an after-hours personality…that’s boring! You being you is what drives great ideas and creative thinking. Between being your authentic self and the many hours spent at work, it makes the office a pretty convenient place to meet eligible suitors.

My position is, go for it, love cannot be contained! However, I do have a few caveats on how this can and can’t work. I mean, I am a professional after all. At the end of the day we are there to achieve for the business, so we need to be really sure that any personal relationship, romantic or otherwise, is not getting in the way of achieving our business goals.

Firstly, on love in the workplace, this should really go without saying but given current affairs maybe it doesn’t, make sure that all parties involved are actually eligible and it’s all consensual! Nobody needs to get hurt in the quest to find love.

If you are lucky enough to find ‘the one’ in the workplace, then have a pash and get out of there! Ongoing relationships with a direct report or subordinate are just awkward for the wider team. Plus, if you are a manager, expect an immediate loss of respect as there will be a natural assumption that favouritism is occurring (even if it’s not). Also let’s remember that you are there to achieve for the business so conflicts of interest are just a no-go, not to mention challenges that could occur if the relationship were to end badly.

So, if you find your love, one of you needs to get a new job, because keeping it on the down low is never going to work.

Charlene Perera is the general manager of Hush Puppies and was a contestant on ‘Married at First Sight’ in 2018.


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