Office romance: Experts warn against clash of interest

Last Updated : 16 June 2019, 11:18 IST
Last Updated : 16 June 2019, 11:18 IST

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With the life being in top gear round the clock for corporate leaders, their love life often takes a beating, and experts are of the opinion that any conflict of interest must be kept in mind when indulging in workplace relationships.

The HR experts, on the other hand, feel that the power business couples, holding top corporate positions, often need to go the extra mile to maintain their long-distance relationships given the huge amount of travel and away-from home-hours involved in their professional life.

Whether it's couple CEOs living in different cities due to their work or a couple where one partner tastes greater success first, the power couples need to maintain a delicate balance between their work and family life.

Author Arvind Parashar, who has worked with corporates like Dell, Genpact and GE in senior leadership roles before he took to full-time writing, said love is perceived to diminish when you attain the CXO level in the corporate world, but that is not actually the case always and several CEOs or power couples tend to be particular about the holidays and destinations with their family or partners.

Parashar, who has just released the final part of his love trilogy, All You Need is Love, said love as a concept shall always remain relevant.

"What can change is the dedication that one can have towards it. Sometimes, we tend to get too mechanical in a professional world that the commitment required in love life takes a back seat. An effort is required to strike a work-life balance," he said.

Leading executive search firm Stellar Search's Founder and Chairperson Shailja Dutt said realistically it is difficult to deter office romances.

"In the current corporate environment, employees spend a larger part of their waking hours in the office, and as a natural outcome of that often find romance, future life partners at their workplace, or via their work.

"At Stellar, in the past, we’ve had several employees who met whilst in the Company and subsequently married," she said.

Dutt, however, cautioned that it is very unhealthy for a couple to work in the same organisation, in the same department or even in departments that work very closely with each other, as there is always a looming threat of "conflict of interest".

"However, if you work in a large organization, where you’re in different departments with no interconnection to each other, it is a seemingly better situation," she said.

Oshikka Lumb, an author and Founder at Markitiers, Event Mossaic and Vizz Plus, said the companies and their employees need to be cautious in cases of office romances.

"A lot of issues can arise if office colleagues start romancing.... Many a times due to any sort of argument or fight between them, the office environment and work may get affected."

"This is the same reason why companies have a strict HR policy against love affairs at work, especially employees higher in the hierarchy," she said.

But still most couples meet at the workplace, have a long relationship and even end up marrying, Lumb said.

"So, if the couple is mature enough and not end up doing unethical activities at the workplace or exhibit their love during their stint at the workplace, the company is completely fine with it," she said.

On love life of CEOs and other top-level executives, Parashar said personal lives are important to be kept going so that it doesn't impact their professional life.

"Like any other couple, they make that extra effort. Maybe more than a normal couple because they know when the busy hectic days take a toll, they need to make up for it. I have known a few of them closely and they are quite content with the love in their life," he said.

On what would be his advice to the companies in dealing with workplace relationships, Parashar said romance is a personal thing and bring it to the workplace and make an exhibition out of it is not the right thing.

"HR policies are around work ethics and therefore even if there is a couple in the workplace so long as it does not break policies, it is fine," he said.

Lumb said the corporate world is fast-paced and cut-throat, leaving no time to even let your hair down.

"Romance does not stay like how it was in the beginning because we get too busy in striving for more success but that does not necessarily mean that love for your partner diminishes in any way.

"Measures should be taken to maintain a strict balance between work life and social life. Books on romance bring out a will to regain the spark in the love life as they are written in a way that will attract the mind of the reader towards doing something exciting and lively," she said.

Published 16 June 2019, 10:35 IST

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