the dos and don’ts of workplace relationships in hospo
May 3, 2021
How to combine work and your workplace friendships
One of the best things about hospo is the workplace relationships you make. Having people you enjoy spending time with makes those crazy hours of service go heaps quicker. And when you’ve got a buddy to laugh with while you reset the tables at midnight, well it doesn’t feel much like work, does it?!
But while most hospo workplaces are great places to make friends or even something more (wink wink), you need to be wary. There are some dos and don’ts for many workplace relationships in hospo. Here are some of them.
Your bestie from high school has recommended you for a job at the bar she works at. You get to hang out together all week. Yay! While it’s super fun working with your friends, there are some things to keep in mind.
Do: keep it professional(ish) at work. You don’t want to end up getting rostered on different shifts.
Don’t: share secrets or personal stories about your mate to other people at work. Even if they haven’t explicitly said something is a secret, your friend might assume you know where to draw the line. If in doubt, keep your lips sealed.
Do: try to get to know the other people in your team. You don’t want to isolate yourself by only hanging with your bestie.
Don’t: stay in a crappy job so you can hang with your friend. You both deserve to be paid properly and treated with respect. You can join your union together and stand up for your rights knowing you have each other for support. Friends who fight together are tight forever.
You’ve worked together for ages and while you wouldn’t hang out after work, you know everything that’s going on in the other’s life. Work friendships are one of the most common workplace relationships we form. Interestingly, these workplace friendships are more likely to develop when co-workers feel they’ve been mistreated by a bad boss. If you’ve got a new work friend, here’s what to keep in mind.
Do: let other people into your circle. You don’t want to get a reputation for being only friends with each other and no one else.
Don’t: gossip about others. Sometimes workplace friendships can lead to gossiping, which can become toxic in workplaces. If there’s something you see that worries you, speak to your manager or get in touch with us at Mobilise and we can give advice.
Do: Encourage your workplace friends to join the union together if you’re banding together over an awful boss or situation.
Don’t: worry if you don’t keep in touch after you leave your job. Some work friends are just for that period in your life, and it makes little sense to continue the friendship when you’re both not at the workplace that bonded you.
Starting a new relationship
So, you’ve got an eye on that lovely lady behind the coffee machine who is a whiz with the latte art? Starting a new relationship in any workplace can be risky. You don’t want to jeopardise your working relationship or create an awkward team environment (particularly if things go sour). Here are some things to consider.
Do: be respectful. If there’s someone at work you like and you think they’re flirting back, make sure that’s the case. And if they’re not into you, lick your wounds in private. It’s vital that you continue acting in a friendly, respectful manner.
Don’t: try to keep it secret (for too long). Sure, keep it on the down-low initially, but these things always come out, eventually. It’s better to be on the front foot and tell people before you’re the subject of constant gossip. To make sure it’s all legit work wise, you may need to flag your relationship with your HR department or your boss.
Do: keep in mind any power imbalances that may exist. If you’re a manager and you like someone who is junior to you, tread carefully. They may feel uncomfortable with your attention, but don’t want to say so for fear of losing shifts or their job. If you’re not sure if they’re into you, err on the side of caution.
Don’t: be a sexual harasser! Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, making inappropriate jokes, making comments about someone’s body, unwanted touching, repeatedly asking someone out. Workplace sexual harassment is absolutely unacceptable. If you’re being harassed at work, join Hospo Voice and access Mobilise for advice and support.
A position has come up at your boyfriend’s work and you’ve jumped at it. It sounds awesome, right? Save on the commute by travelling in together and you get to spend extra time with each other. Working with your partner can be great, but it can also be… challenging. Here’s what you should consider.
Do: be upfront about your relationship when applying for a job at the same place. There’s no way that’s staying secret for long!
Don’t: bring your relationship drama to work. No one wants to hear about how your partner never picks up their dirty undies or was rude to your family.
Do: hold off on PDA until you leave work. That means no hand holding, no sneaky kisses, and please let no one find you doing something you shouldn’t be doing in the store room.
Don’t pull your workmates into your relationship. Find another friend outside of work if you need to analyse your relationship. It makes people uncomfortable, and it’s super unprofessional when they work with both of you.
People you don’t like/enemies/frenemies
There’s always someone at work who you just don’t gel with. Whether it’s your differing political opinions (you voted for WHO?!), the way they suck up to the boss or just because they think they’re a cut above everyone else. Regardless of your personal opinions, we need to keep our workplaces as harmonious as possible. Here are some things to remember.
Do: keep things professional. Sure, it can be hard when you’ve heard that they have made up stories about you, but you don’t want to stoop to their level.
Don’t: bad mouth people behind their back.
Do: be respectful.
Don’t: refuse to work with them. Although if there’s more to this animosity than a simple personality clash, like bullying or harassment, ask for advice on Mobilise. Your employer has to make sure you’re safe at work.
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