Office romances aren’t always advised, and yet they happen when you spend 40 hours or more with the same group of people. All too often we find ourselves getting to know our co-workers and often fantasize about what it would be like to date them or fall in love with them. As our career goals increase in importance and we start spending more and more time at work, the likelihood of falling into a romantic relationship with someone you work with increases.
About 25% of people in the workforce have begun a relationship with their co-worker, and about 25% of those people end up dating long-term or marrying those people. However, the majority of people believe that an office romance is something to be avoided, as it can derail your personal and professional life if things get out of hand.
If you are thinking about embarking on an office romance, there are a few things that you should consider first.
Here are a few office romance dos and don’ts to consider before going out on that first date:
Do: Review the policies of your employer regarding dating. If the consequences aren’t worth the risk, don’t date your co-worker.
Don’t: Don’t get involved with a subordinate in your company. If you are a manager, don’t date someone underneath you. If you are at a lower position in your company, don’t date your boss. All of these situations can lead to messy circumstances when it comes to moving up in your career or when you break up.
Do: See what others are doing. Some work environments are more conducive to dating than others. In your office, are other people dating one another? You might not want to get involved in more office drama.
Don’t: Don’t get yourself so caught up in a new romance that you forget that sexual harassment in the workplace is still a thing. You are a professional, and you need to act like it when you’re at work. What you do on your own time is a different story.
Do: Be cool in your new romance. You don’t want to be the center of new office gossip or drama, so if you are going to embark on an office romance, proceed with caution.
Don’t: Use your office supplies or resources to romance or impress your new beau. Don’t waste company time or risk ruining your reputation on a relationship that might not last.
Do: Keep doing your job. Don’t give anyone the opportunity to doubt your commitment to your job, especially if you are dating a superior. You need to keep up the good work in order to keep your reputation intact at work.
Don’t: Engage in physical or sexual activity at work. This seems like it would be obvious… and yet! Remember, you aren’t as subtle as you think you’re being, especially when you’re caught up in a new person.
We all want to find a connection with another person, and sometimes that connection happens at work. If you are thinking of asking a co-worker out, be careful. Weigh the risks and rewards and proceed with caution- you don’t want to ruin the personal and professional progress you’ve made because of one bad romance.