Home Tech News Love at work: love etiquette for IT professionals

Love at work: love etiquette for IT professionals

by Tejas Dhawan
Photo: VRD / Fotolia.com

Going to work with butterflies in my stomach every morning … yes, that’s it! For some office workers, the feeling is not a distant dream, but reality. According to an older Forsa survey, almost every fifth in Germany has already fallen in love at work, 14 percent of the working population have a permanent relationship at work. A risky undertaking. Special rules apply for lovers in the office. If you don’t know them, you quickly catapult yourself away – with your loved one, colleagues and bosses. What should you watch out for when there is radio in the office? What if the new boss is exactly my type? Or when the manager knocks indecent slogans? Our love etiquette provides answers to ten important questions about flirting, love and affairs at work.

Basically: Be never “intimate” in the team. If you’re just looking for a flirt: hands off! If you are serious, it is best to test with a smile whether the sympathy is mutual. If your loved one is really still available (get information!), You could start with an innocuous coffee in the canteen. Then slowly switch from job topics to hobbies and more private, and if it goes well, suggest a next meeting. Graduate psychologist Brigitte Scheidt recommends a reality check: “Men often interpret pure friendliness of women as approval of their person,” says the family therapist. Therefore, they should use body language and gestures to find out whether the lady of the heart is really interested in them – or maybe just the proposed movie. A good indication: Those who allow physical contact often have more than a purely friendly interest. If you pull your hand away when you touch it, you just want to be a buddy.

An affair with superiors usually leads to trouble and can even endanger your own job. “Anyone who starts such a flirt,” said relationship coach Lisa Fischbach, “should first check whether he is able to withstand the consequences psychologically.” They are not without. Annoyances, marginalization, bullying: Colleagues know no pardon. “You quickly suspect that you want to gain an advantage for your career through a relationship with the boss,” said Fischbach. In love affairs, those affected suffer twice as a result of the dependency relationship – both privately and professionally.

A difficult step – similar to a termination. “The separation between colleagues is even more painful than with other love partners,” explains psychologist Scheidt. “In the heartache, there is the worry that you have to continue working with the ex – or even the fear that the other person will let you feel his power in the job.” It is important to speak clearly and appreciatively with the partner. Don’t mess around! Don’t leave a back door open! Do not wash dirty laundry! Everything would lead to additional complications in private soul and professional work life.

Time to act. In a one-on-one discussion, superiors should speak to the employee about his deteriorating performance and ask him for an explanation from his point of view. “If he speaks about the heartache on his own, then you show understanding. If he doesn’t tell the reason, you respect this,” says Scheidt. “In any case, you have to inform him of the professional issues.” In the event of a serious drop in performance, the warning is the means of choice. “After being in love and suffering from love are regularly only temporary conditions, it should usually end,” says labor lawyer Helmut Krause. However, if the benefits do not improve afterwards, the termination can even be threatened.

Diplomacy is needed here. “For fear of tensions and insults, the basket among colleagues is even more difficult than in private life,” says Fischbach. Going out with your colleague just to please them creates false hopes. The relationship expert recommends combining a friendly thank you for the invitation with reference to other commitments. Anyone who has received a basket three times should have understood this hint with the fence post.

Be sure to stay out – “at least as long as the balance of the team is not disturbed by the liaison,” advises psychologist Scheidt. However, if you have the feeling that the two are teaming up against the rest of the team, the motto is: take out kid gloves and seek a pronunciation – with one or both. In the conversation, it is important to state one’s own fears and to consider together what a realignment of the team could look like. If the affected party sticks, consult the team leader. Important: “It’s not about evaluating, it’s just about maintaining the productivity of the team,” says Scheidt.

Lisa Fischbach, Graduate psychologist, works as a relationship expert and single coach at the online dating exchange ElitePartner in Hamburg.

Helmut Krause, Attorney-at-law, advises employees, employers and works councils as a specialist lawyer for employment law in Puchheim near Munich.

Brigitte Scheidt, Graduate psychologist, as a family therapist and coach in Berlin, advises specialists and managers in matters relating to jobs and careers.

Lawyer Helmut Krause:
Lawyer Helmut Krause: “Sexual harassment begins at the moment when the other person finds the speech uncomfortable.”
Photo: Helmut Krause

No pardon applies here. “Sexual harassment begins at the moment when the other person finds the speech uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter whether the resentment is expressed or not,” explains lawyer Krause. The drunk is right, but should verbally and verbally reject all advances. If the pick-up doesn’t stop, you can turn on the direct supervisor or the works council. Criminal prosecution is planned for serious sexual assaults such as busting. The offender must expect his employment relationship to be terminated. Already in medium-severe cases (“I would like to have breakfast with you tomorrow …”), in addition to criminal charges and dismissal, there is a risk of being warned and transferred.

Every woman has her own gun. What works is allowed – from ignoring and putting on thick fur to rhetorical counterattacks of all kinds (“That should be funny?”; “What problem do you have?”; Telling anti-male jokes). If one or two leaders spur the group on, it makes sense to seek allies against the spokesmen. No matter which strategy women choose: “If the men realize that their colleague is not going to take the butter off their bread, they sometimes quickly lose the fun of their macho behavior,” says job coach Scheidt.

Not too soon! After all, you don’t want to wake up sleeping dogs. Coach Fischbach advises to wait until the relationship is serious. Exception: if rumors are circulating and the industrial radio is in full swing. “Then keeping still is counterproductive and open,” says the relationship expert. Recommended procedure: First briefly and factually inform the supervisor, then the colleagues with whom you work directly. “Do not feel obliged to tell private details,” recommends Fischbach. “The facts are enough.”

Deepest condolences! Nobody wants such a situation. “If both sides get over it, cooperation should be possible,” believes Scheidt. If not, the psychologist recommends transfer to another department. “There you can start fresh, free of private involvement.” The manager probably knows or suspects the reason for the transfer request. If not, it is sufficient to speak of “private reasons” or to suggest other professional matters. Everything should be done professionally without tearing open private wounds. “Job is job, and ex is ex,” says Scheidt. “You should separate the two.”

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