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October 30, 2012

Married Couples At Work

We human resource professionals are always looking for the right motivator for the talent force. Research has suggested some of the least expected elements to act as propeller for individuals at workplace. For some it is the financial component in terms of salary, incentives and rewards, for some it is higher responsibilities, and it is the pat on the back by the boss for some. Numerous motivators some common while some very unusual yet effective. One such element is ‘Workplace Romance’, unconventional thought…well maybe, but study suggests it to be one.

But romancing your coworker comes with its own set of pros and cons. The most obvious argument in favor is the upward trend of the productivity chart due to harmonious relationships. Its human nature to try and impress your romantic interest and the HR folks get to have motivated employee contributing positively towards the organizational goal. Other positive outcomes are an opportunity to see your apple of the eye everyday at work and spend time on and off, a soul to share problems at work without being tormented by the fear of being badmouthed.

The love does put spring in your step and workplace looks like bliss but the fights can make you feel chained and the work ambiance claustrophobic. And sharing a light moment with co-workers can have your romantic interest turn green. The co- workers might also start complaining of favoritism in case you are dating your boss. The cons become more prominent when the romance comes to an end. Imagine being subjected to ridicule by your ex due to personal differences. Your one time soul mate now becomes a potential danger who might spell out your secrets.

The ‘Workplace Romance’ might not work well for most of us but having ‘Married Couples’ at work looks like a possible HR retention tool. In India we see an increasing acceptance of having married couples at the same workplace. There still are organizations which are apprehensive about having husband and wife working with them but the advantages it brings might prompt them to change their mind and policy.

Let us ponder over few noticeable outcomes, both in and against ‘Having Married Couples At Work’.

Just one argument in favor would be a winner here, imagine saving on all the petrol as you drive to work together. Jokes apart, working together they tend to bring in a camaraderie which makes work effective and efficient. Better leave management at the employees end is an advantage for the company. Knowledge sharing as couples would find common grounds for conversation related to work and this would go beyond office hours. A genuine concern for each other would bring out the best in form of extra effort, long hours and creative solutions. And a big plus would be the peace of mind this brings to the married couples knowing their better half is just a workstation away.

The downslide worth a mention would be the uncomfortable milieu due to quarrels; the ugly face of jealousy might raise its head given the fact that you would have co-workers of both sexes. The office politics too can be a pain to deal with. Joint vacations would hinder the work flow especially if both are in the same department. And although subtle but the need for space in any relationship cannot be ignored but this need is not looked into when you have your spouse as your co-worker.

Working in the same organization might not be a possibility for all couples but for those who get this opportunity the idea is worth a thought. Having married couples working at your company might work in favor of both the parties provided we are ready to accept the disadvantages with a pinch of salt. And yes, a very important positive would be the lesser number of vehicles clogging the roads as the two set off to work together.

Tags : Couples at work, married couple working together, workplace romance, organnizational culture

About Nivedita

Nivedita has almost six years of experience in the HR domain. In her current role with an IT company, she manages the talent acquisition and talent management initiatives of the organization. She has been honored a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources. She began her career in 2005 and has been working in the different domains of Human Resources ever since.