IELTS Task 2 Writing – Relationships at workplace

You should take about 40 minutes for this task.

Many companies are strongly against having personal relationships in the workplace and impose strict policies against it. Do you agree or disagree with this practice? 

A lot of businesses oppose having love relationships in the place of work and create company regulations to dissuade employees from engaging in such interactions. Are you in favour or against this ideology?   

  1. Both agree and disagree 
  2. Choose one side to agree or disagree***

In this case, it is better to approach this essay as one side supported by two clear points because logically, you cannot have both. 

(Idiom) “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” 

Include any relevant explanations and examples from your own experience.

Write at LEAST 250 words.

STEP 1 – Paraphrase the question using, synonyms, antonym + negatives, grammar, description. This will help you to understand the question, think deeply about this idea, and gather some useful vocabulary.

STEP 2 – Identify the TOPIC and Controlling Idea

TOPIC = personal relationships in the workplace

Controlling Idea = Whether or not this should be allowed

STEP 3 – Think critically about the TOPIC and CI – ask “What” “Why” and “How”

TOPIC – personal relationships in the workplace

Q: What is a personal relationship at the workplace?

A: a romantic relationship, forming strong emotional bonds to have boyfriend, girlfriend, friend connections that are not focused on work related topics. 

Q: Why are people prone (likely) to form personal relationships at work?

A: Employees spend a lot of time together daily which facilitates (create the opportunity) emotional attachment.

Q: How does this happen? (examples – *VISUALIZE)

A: They work on projects together, their desks are side-by-side, they talk about personal feelings and ask to go on a date. They keep in touch outside work. 

Critical Thinking – CI

Q: What are the regulations put into place to discourage personal relationships work?

A: The consequence of getting a warning and then being fired from work. 

Why do companies impose regulations to discourage personal relationships in the office?

To ensure that employees are as efficient as possible with their work related tasks (Employees lose focus and become less efficient when they have relationships at work.)

To create a professional atmosphere that preserves the overall image of the company. 

To avoid conflict of interest

To avoid conflict

To avoid liability

To maintain integrity

How does this happen? (Think again of examples)

A lawyer is fired from her law firm for having a relationship with her legal aid as she was found sharing sensitive client information.

…leads to malpractice.  

***1. Make sure to clearly separate your What/Why/How for the TOPIC vs. Controlling Idea.

***2. Make sure to clearly separate the What/Why/How questions from each other. 

***Do NOT refer to the location of information in the text of a short essay, it is awkward. “I agree with the above statement”. Or “This essay will discuss below.”

Introductory Paragraph – hook, background, thesis

(Hook) It is common for colleagues to develop personal relationships through their employment because of their frequent time spent together. (BG) Nevertheless, companies are often in strong opposition to emotionally charged bonds at the workplace and discourage such activity with threats of terminating employment. (thesis) I agree that for the interest of business, personal connections should be regulated by policy as companies must maintain efficiency and reputation. 

BODY 1 – (maintaining efficiency 🡪 topic sentence, explanation, example, connecting sentence)

Dissuading personal interactions in a work establishment leads to fewer distractions, more focus on work, and therefore, greater productivity of goods and services which ultimately leads to revenue and growth. (Explanation – quantitative language, visual language) When an employee thinks twice about spending two hours of an eight-hour-workday chitchatting about emotions to their partner, they are able to either manufacture 25% more goods in that time or serve a quarter more clients. (Example – the real world, empathetic, impactful) I recently changed my family doctor because the nurse and physician at my old clinic were constantly discussing personal issues rather than helping patients, and as a result of this, my wait times for seeing the doctor were over one hour! (Connecting sentence – simple, reflect the original question) This is one of two reasons that I support company policies that forbid personal relationships in the office. 

BODY 2 – (reputation of the company – topic sentence, explanation, example)

Furthermore, companies can suffer from the loss of their image and integrity when their employees are focused on emotional bonds among each other rather than presenting a professional attitude towards clients and the industry. In situations where clients feel underserved, or even ignored, a company can get bad reviews and even become vulnerable to legal disputes if the actions of distracted employees lead to harm to society and customers. I recently heard that my old clinic is being sued for malpractice because the doctor and the nurse were so distracted by their intimacy that the nurse gave too much medication to a patient which led to a near death experience. 


In conclusion, having interpersonal connections at work leads to decreased efficiency and increased liability. Therefore, I strongly encourage companies to implement policies against such behavior for the benefit and long-term success of the business. Ultimately, employees are being paid to work and not to date and play. 

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