Allowing for flirting in the workplace that doesn’t turn into sexual harassment could be a positive experience, according to new research. “When flirtation is enjoyed, it makes the recipient feel good about themselves—it makes them feel attractive, included and powerful,” lead study author Leah Sheppard, an assistant professor of management at Washington State University, tells MarketWatch. “These are all psycho-social resources that lead to the reduction of stress.”
Sheppard, however, says the research should not be seen as a green light for coworkers to flirt, and especially in cases where the interaction is between a superior and subordinate. The research notes flirtation is OK when it happens organically among colleagues who already have an established positive relationship.
While having a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment is highly recommended, extending the same to flirting could lead to awkwardness and fear. “It could have long-term implications for how happy your employees are,” Sheppard says. “In that kind of environment, I would probably feel very fearful, like any little thing that I do can be misconstrued.”Last modified on Saturday, 18 January 2020