Simon Wright reports on research that reveals as many as seven in ten accountants are calling for a ban on office relationships.
Given we spend so much of our time at work, it is only natural that in some instances friendships made whilst conferring over clients’ managements accounts or even the photocopier could lead to something more romantic.
Yet it seems many accounting professionals across the globe believe that there is a time and a place. And it’s not within the office walls or work time. According to research CareersinAudit.com recently conducted amongst 1800 accountants, as many as seven in ten accountants are calling for a ban on office relationships – particularly if they work closely together or one is reporting to the other. Yet three quarters of accountants know of at least one relationship that has gone on or is going on in the office right now.
Many believe that the lines of business and pleasure should not be blurred, that such amorous relationships can impair judgement, create a conflict of interest and potentially prevent them and others from achieving organisational goals and disrupt the team spirit. They’d certainly be inclined to blow the whistle too if they got wind of it happening, with the majority choosing to report it to their line manager, saying something to the couple in question or taking it straight to the top of the organisation.
Have accountants lost their joie de vivre or are they right to hold such strident views? Whilst imposing a love ban could be a step too far and an infringement on employee rights, employers should also strongly consider how to mitigate against any fall out and protect the business should there be a fall-out or parting of ways amongst the office couple.
Getting a work place relationship policy in place may be the acceptable way forward for all: one could identify the roles which would need disclosure on relationships and ensure a duty to disclose if there was a conflict of interest or a threat to the business. Plus it may be wise to prohibit public displays of affection in the workplace since this can be a distraction to other staff and at the end of the day, there’s always work to be done.