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  • Workplace romance can be a tricky topic.

  • (Music)

  • [The Way We Work]

  • How do we manage the boundaries

  • between our personal and professional lives?

  • How do we deal with gender imbalances and power dynamics in the workplace?

  • There's a lot of gray area in workplace romance.

  • I'd like to take a few minutes

  • and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

  • So, question one: Should I date my coworker?

  • Uh ... it depends.

  • Do you want to date your coworker for a bit of fun?

  • Do you want to date your coworker to hook up?

  • Because then you're really better off on Tinder.

  • If you want to date your coworker

  • because you really, sincerely think you're falling in love with them

  • or there's a real potential for a long-term, committed relationship,

  • maybe you should date your coworker.

  • Studies show that your coworkers are generally positive about it

  • if they perceive that you're falling in love

  • and genuinely care about each other.

  • It's when your coworkers sense that something else is in play --

  • that can be disruptive.

  • Question two:

  • Should I date my boss?

  • In almost all cases, no, you should not date your boss,

  • because now, you've got a power dynamic.

  • When there's a relationship between a boss and a subordinate,

  • it generates a lot of negative feelings,

  • and the negative feelings tend to fall on the person

  • who's lower on the totem pole.

  • People usually assume some kind of favoritism,

  • some kind of inside knowledge,

  • and there can be resentment stirred up by that.

  • There was a study published last year

  • that suggested dating a superior can even have a negative impact on your career.

  • The researchers asked third-party evaluators online

  • to imagine that they worked at a law firm.

  • They asked them to make recommendations on which employee should get picked

  • for a special training program

  • and which should get promoted to partner.

  • They looked at credentials for imaginary employees,

  • and when it was stated that an employee had been dating

  • or was in a relationship with a superior,

  • the evaluators were less likely to pick that person for the training program

  • or the promotion,

  • even if they had the exact same credentials

  • as someone who wasn't dating their boss.

  • The evaluators were also quick to dismiss their accomplishments.

  • Question three:

  • Can I date someone who reports to me?

  • Still a big no.

  • You may not feel like you're really the boss, right?

  • But you are, and there's a power dynamic there

  • that's simply not there for other couples.

  • If you really believe there is a sincere, honestly felt, personal connection

  • that would be lasting and meaningful,

  • one of you may need to move,

  • and it shouldn't always be the person who's lower in the company pecking order.

  • Question four:

  • I've just started seeing a coworker.

  • How do we handle things?

  • I get this question a lot.

  • "Are they dating? Are they not dating?"

  • Don't keep it a secret.

  • You don't have to make a big deal of it, but secrecy tends to be corrosive.

  • People tend to see workplace couples as a coalition or a unit,

  • so try to make it clear to your coworkers that you're not the same person;

  • you love each other, but you are going to disagree.

  • Question five:

  • Why are coworkers often attracted to each other?

  • Well, the obvious answer is people tend to be attracted to each other

  • the more time they spend together.

  • But there's another ingredient that has to be added:

  • attraction tends to happen

  • when there's work that demands close collaboration.

  • So imagine you have a big group project with a tight deadline

  • and you're working late nights and brainstorming ideas.

  • You look up, and across the table,

  • one of your colleagues throws out a really great idea.

  • You may feel something, and that's natural.

  • We call this task interdependence.

  • It's a ripe ground for attraction.

  • The second reason why people at work are attracted to each other

  • is they may often be similar to each other.

  • There's two old adages:

  • "Birds of a feather flock together." And "Opposites attract."

  • Well, the psychological research suggests ...

  • birds of a feather flock together,

  • and we like people who are like us.

  • Question six:

  • My coworkers are flirting.

  • I'm annoyed. What do I do?

  • Some researchers argue that for people flirting at work,

  • flirting is good and it boosts creativity.

  • But my own research suggests things are different

  • for people who are watching or who are subjected to the flirting.

  • It can be awkward, right?

  • Witnessing flirtation in the workplace creates a sense of not knowing the rules,

  • not knowing what's going on,

  • or maybe seeing something that you shouldn't be seeing.

  • People who frequently witness flirting at work --

  • they actually report feeling less satisfied in their jobs,

  • and they feel less valued by their company.

  • They're more likely to give a negative appraisal of the work environment,

  • and they may even consider leaving.

  • For women, this association can be even stronger.

  • This appears to be the case

  • even when people report not being bothered by the flirting.

  • It's true even when they say they enjoy it.

  • So, a flirtatious environment really could be toxic.

  • Question seven:

  • Do I need a policy on workplace relationships?

  • You certainly need a policy on a sexual harassment,

  • and I think most HR departments recognize that.

  • But for the kind of consensual behavior we've been talking about,

  • it's a little different.

  • As much as people in HR would love to wave a magic wand

  • and say, "Thou shall not fall in love at work,"

  • it's just not realistic.

  • Emotional connection and sexuality is who we are.

  • I kind of want you to flip the script a little bit.

  • I encourage HR to really think more broadly

  • about their role in not necessarily stamping out office romance,

  • because I don't think that's realistic,

  • but how do I help create a workplace climate and culture

  • where people feel respected for their individual contributions,

  • not for their appearance or their gender,

  • or their personal relationships?

  • So the larger question is,

  • how do you make sure people are valued and respected?

Workplace romance can be a tricky topic.

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B1 US TED coworker workplace flirting date coworkers

【TED】Amy Nicole Baker: 7 common questions about workplace romance (7 common questions about workplace romance | The Way We Work, a TED series)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2019/02/09
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