Analysis: Dealing with distracted lovers at work

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Question:

I’ve got a couple of single co-workers who are romantically involved with each other. Their new relationship is distracting them from doing their jobs and it’s starting to annoy everyone around them.  We’re all having to carry the increased workload from their constant interruptions and distractions. Is this something that I should report to management? Any ideas on what I can do?

Answer:

I’m glad to hear that your co-workers have found an exciting relationship with one another. New love is an exciting thing! However, I also hear your pain on how distracting it can be to have a front-row seat to their budding romance. Here are some thoughts on how everyone can get back to work.

Management is probably already aware of their romance. If they are peers in their job responsibilities, then there is no harm in them having a romantic relationship as long as they’re able to perform their job responsibilities. If one is a manager and is a subordinate, then it’s a little trickier. Most companies prohibit this type of interaction and if it’s causing problems for you or others, then it’s something that should be handled by human resources.

If they can’t perform their job responsibilities, then the situation should be handled in the same way you would handle any co-worker who is slacking and creating an increased workload for you or other colleagues.

You really have to separate their office romance from their work performance. Their love life isn’t any of your business, regardless of how annoying it might be to see them gaze at each other across the room.

Their work performance, however, does affect you and should be something you’re prepared to deal with if it’s really getting in the way of you doing your job well. As awkward as it may seem, you can always pull one of them aside and explain how it affects your workload and discuss what can be done to get things back on track.

If all else fails and there isn’t any response from your individual efforts, don’t be afraid to get the help you need from management to get everyone working again. Just follow the appropriate chain of command to take care of the concerns.

There is nothing wrong with individuals meeting and falling in love at work. For many people, this is where they spend much of their time socializing. It’s a natural place to associate and build relationships. As long as people stay productive and are respectful of their actions toward their colleagues, these types of relationships shouldn’t be a threat.

email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

twitter: @geoffsteurer

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

 

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