Hot Topic – Office Romance
If you noticed more than the usual number of flowers and candy being delivered to your offices this past Valentine’s Day, you weren’t just imaging it. A new survey reported by Inc. com shows that more than 30% of employed adults have dated a co-worker, and 27% admit to a little peer-to-peer kissing.
Despite those numbers, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management shows that 75% of companies surveyed don’t have a written policy regarding relationships in the workplace.
Why is it so high? According to the Inc.com article, one reason is that people are spending more and more time at work. With less time to find mates on the outside, work is a good alternative. Also, people who work together have a significant thing in common, and sharing a corporate environment can create a bond that goes beyond the office.
Dating at work creates two problems. One is the labor that’s lost when employees who are dating are focused on their relationship instead of work. I didn’t see any research about how much labor is lost to dating relationships, but I wouldn’t trust that kind of data anyway, as people are unlikely to admit to a survey taker that they’re dating if it’s frowned upon by the company.
The other problem is a legal one. Even if one person is not in a supervisory position over the other, inter-office relationships could lead to harassment and discrimination lawsuits.
Although there are problems associated with office romances, they’re not all bad. For example, couples who work together may have a higher degree of understanding and tolerance for the stresses the other is experiencing, which can be a good thing.
A company policy on office relationships might seem like a good idea, but you should consult with your general counsel or outside attorney for how to handle this issue. Depending on the state where you’re located, you may not be able to enforce a no-dating policy. And you may not want one: For every couple that’s dating in your office, there are two less people using the company computers to search Match.com.
Great Resource – What Clients Love, by Harry Beckwith
If you’re like me, you travel quite a bit. And that can leave you with time you can optimize by listening to books and seminars on CD. Harry Beckwith’s book on CD, What Clients Love is a great resource.
Why it’s great: He covers everything from how to select a great name for your company to how to pick a receptionist your clients will love. How should you dress when you present to clients? He tells you. When should you knock your competition? Harry explains why you shouldn’t do it ever. It’s three hours (on three CDs) of excellent advice by the author of Selling the Invisible, the groundbreaking book on how to create a great service business. Even if you’re not in the business of providing services, What Clients Love teaches a lot.
What I didn’t like: Beckwith speaks in a soft monotone that was difficult to get used to. The content is so good that I stayed with it, and after a while I got used to his voice. I hope you do, too.
The Lost (and then found) Plotz Memos:
I recently came into possession of a dusty carton of memos written by CEO Max M. Plotz. If you’ve never heard of him (and I suspect you haven’t) Plotz was a mercurial but compassionate man who ran Consolidated Candies (with plants in Lahaska, PA and the Mayfair section of Philadelphia) from the 1940s through the early 1970s. He was well known for the memos he wrote to his staff. Those memos were often terse, sometimes funny, and always filled with valuable wisdom. I have received permission from the Plotz family to reprint his memos in The Weiman Consulting Letter. I hope you find them as valuable as I did.
To: The Staff
From: Max M. Plotz, CEO
Date: July 2, 1957
It came to my attention this afternoon that the chocolate coating machine on line #4 had to be shut down for over two hours because someone accidentally dropped a bagel with cream cheese, nova and onions into the melting kettle.
I appreciate that some of you are working through lunch so that you can take the day off before the Independence Day Holiday. Sometimes (as in this case), eating lunch while working winds up costing more time than it saves. Please eat lunch in the lunchroom over the lunch hour, as that is why we have provided both.
Also, after trying the chocolate covered bagel sandwich, I can assure you that the two should not be mixed.