When we think about love, we usually imagine romantic love. But let’s break it down first. Love also brings with it care, respect, value and support. Love is what motivates us to check in on the people that we care about especially when we see them not quite themselves or floundering. Love is what often bolsters empathy and motivates us to include those around us, or encourage them on their journeys of growth. These are all characteristics of platonic Love that we would want to invite into a healthy workplace culture through team bonds, and of course along with a healthy understanding of respecting and valuing individual personal boundaries.
These aspects of platonic love, and care can support a lot of positive shifts in the context of work, like for instance:
- Better stress management
- Higher levels of engagement
- Improved work performance, satisfaction and motivation
- Space for flourishing
- More support and stronger team bonds
This may also aid in decreasing counterproductive workplace behaviours like unhealthy competition, scapegoating, etc.
This being said, the workplace is no stranger to romance, and the love that has some elements of passion to it as well. Especially with younger people or people who leave their home to enter the workforce, the space becomes one where networking and socializing is also most primarily done. But how can these moments and relationships be navigated at the workplace?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Remember consent is key. We need to ensure that the person who is on the receiving end of one’s loving attention, especially the romantic kind actually wants it or reciprocates those feelings. Actively check in with the person because, any assumptions could cross the boundaries of the person in question and create a feeling of discomfort, fear or anger. Moreover, such boundary violations may come under the definition of sexual harassment as per the POSH Law and could be reported to the Internal Committee for further action.
- When beginning a new relationship, remember to follow through with the processes laid out in one’s organisational policies as applicable (anti-fraternisation, or dating policies )
- If one is in a romantic relationship with a significant other and are part of the same workspace, it is important to remember to value the boundaries of the people outside of this unit who are also part of the workplace. Adhere to the standards of professional behaviour, avoid overt displays of affection and favouritism, or other implications of bias.
- It is important to report to HR any personal relationships that may develop between persons wherein one’s position of power may become an issue later
- It is important to ensure that professional behaviour is followed at all times
- Ensure that policies to safeguard employees at the workplace – Wellbeing policies, POSH Policies or Dating Policies are not only in place, but that adequate training and discussion is held around these policies to ensure that people are aware of their rights and duties when it comes to creating a healthy workplace environment.