Bonding with a colleague and occasionally taking them to coffee dates is not bad, but what happens when emotions and feelings get involved? What impact can it have on the organisation? Being in a romantic relationship with someone from work comes with its own set of conditions. The impact this can have on the person or the organisation, depends on varying factors however. Ernest Mugisha, Chief Executive Officer at INFIM AG-TRANSFORM AFRICA LTD a manufacturing company, currently dealing in the agriculture value chain, says that relationships at work are totally okay since we are humans, however one should take note of the impact this can have on an organisation. “It is in human nature to have feelings for someone else, and it is okay but what if the person is in a higher position and has a relationship with someone they supervise? This will result in many challenges like not taking proper decisions towards that person because they will be obliged to decide a certain way, due to the feelings they have for that person,” he says. However, if a person is able to control their emotions, their relationship can’t be a challenge nor affect the company at all. Mugisha adds that romantic relationships don’t always result in negative impacts to the organisation; they can also come with positive ones. “They can serve as a motivation for those dating to work hard and impress, which benefits the company.” According to Aliah Ineza who works with a sales company, romantic relationships are not an ideal thing to have within the workplace. “Feelings are very strong and they can make anyone act out of their right state of mind. Therefore, if feelings start getting mixed with work, it can highly affect the organisation’s growth. Imagine if the people dating have important roles in the organisation and can’t think straight anymore because of their relationship, it will highly affect the organisation’s development,” she says. In an article about where boundaries lie in workplace relationships, The Fair Work Commission found that the employee’s failure to disclose the relationship, especially when combined with his dishonesty in lying to his manager about the affair on two separate occasions, constituted a valid reason for the applicant’s dismissal. So the best approach for employees considering a relationship with a colleague is to separate the romantic advance from the workplace. Conduct that would be considered lawful outside the workplace can actually be subject to a variety of laws if it occurs in a work setting. Mugisha adds that before deciding to start a romantic affair with any of your co-workers, it is best to know if it suits the company’s policy or if the environment allows it. How to approach workplace romance In an article by Amy Gallo in the Harvard business review, she shares things to look on before engaging in a romantic relationship at work: Know the risks. Before you act on your feelings, it’s important to think through the risks-and there are quite a few. Of course, there’s the chance that the relationship won’t work out and that there will be hurt feelings on one or both sides. There are also potential conflicts of interest. Know your company’s policies. Many companies prohibit employees from dating co-workers, vendors, customers, or suppliers, or require specific disclosures, so be sure to investigate before you start a relationship. Stay away from your boss and your direct reports. No matter what your intentions are, it’s best not to date your managers or subordinates. That’s because this is where conflicts of interest are most stark. It’s hard to be objective when giving someone you’re dating a performance review. Don’t hide it. It’s important to be open about the relationship with your co-workers and boss. This might be tough advice to follow, especially if you’re not sure where the relationship will go.