Derry Finkeldey, research vice president, Gartner
Many people meet their partner at work – me included! Companies present an ideal environment for this to happen: we have more collaborative workplaces, open-plan offices, longer office hours and more socialising around work.
Personal relationships are not the problem, it’s sexual harassment. A 2017 Gartner survey of almost 6000 employees in countries including Australia found that that one in 10 adults had experienced it in the past year. And, unfortunately, the technology, media and entertainment industries were among the most risky for women.
Companies can do a lot to cut the odds of harassment for women. They can do this by creating gender-balanced work and management teams, and building a culture where sexist humour is not tolerated, reporting is encouraged (and safe) and gender differences are not only respected but used to drive business performance.
Alex Gambotto, chief executive, The Missing Link
Our position is, they’re OK as long as the relationship doesn’t negatively affect our productivity or morale. We don’t believe you can effectively ban a relationship at work. If two people like each other, then they will enter and probably hide the relationship anyway.
We’re proud to have built an inclusive and supportive culture. We trust and empower our staff to make the right decisions, and when they don’t, we expect them to manage the outcome. In more serious situations, management have steps in place to help them.
We’ve more importantly had very positive outcomes - a couple who met at The Missing Link have excelled working together and they are two of our best staff, consistently winning awards and are about to get married and have the first Missing Link baby!
Our focus will remain on building a positive culture and thus I can’t see a relationship ban happening here.
Nick Verykios, managing director, Arrow ECS Australia and New Zealand
Company policies are intended to police safe, professional, ethical, equitable, diverse and commercially progressive environments. I don’t think that genuine matters of the heart would apply to this.
History is well-documented with outstanding businesses run by couples and in many cases, amazing families are born out of mature adults meeting where they spend most of their life – the workplace.
Let’s not confuse scandal with human impulses.
Common sense will always prevail here and if a relationship is not damaging in any way to a company’s stakeholders, it’s likely to be an event worth celebrating.
Notwithstanding this, if a relationship of any kind is born which can be proven to breach a policy of a safe, professional, ethical, equitable, diverse and commercially progressive environment, such a relationship cannot be tolerated.