Dating at Work – Rules and Tips
Seriously though, between meeting through friends and online dating where else are you going to meet someone these days?
Workplace romances will continue to rise because we are spending more time on the job (sorry…at work!), If you’re going out less, and working more, you’re likely to form closer bonds and feelings of attraction towards co-workers. It makes sense then; those in search of a relationship can end up scouting their work colleagues.
Have a thing for the gorgeous creature who sits next to the printer? Also every now and then a liaison begins by the water cooler, get prepared for an interesting adventure.
Here’s how to be a few steps ahead of heartache – and unemployment!
No, Really: Avoid the Boss
Keep relationships with co-workers at your own level or in different departments, as HR policies tend to reflect, this will be less of a headache. If you’re dating and still doing your job, no one may care. Even when there are rules, it’s bound to happen anyway!
So what to do if you find yourself lusting after someone down the hall? Here’s the rule: You get only one shot at asking out a co-worker. If you ask repeatedly, you risk creating a hostile work environment, which can be defined as harassment. Beware of casual hook-ups at the Christmas party too, they can come back and bite you on the bum.
Don’t engage in PDA in front of co-workers.
Once in a relationship, Public Displays of Affection are completely unprofessional, and can make spectators feel uncomfortable. No one wants to walk into the kitchen to find you two squeezed up against the microwave while your lunch goes nuclear. Wait until after work, when you can scoot off to either person’s apartment to extinguish the flames of passion.
Tell Your Company
Initially there’s no need to send an office-wide memo with a photo of you two in a full on snog, realistically, you should only tell colleagues who you are both comfortable with knowing.
But, within the rules of office relationships: If things get serious, disclose. Yes, it’s embarrassing, but you’ll be glad you did. Reporting a relationship improves your odds of avoiding an awkward situation when word gets out.
Be Aggressive About Boundaries
It’s natural to think about how an office romance will affect your career, but the fact that you work together will also affect your relationship, so make sure to draw a line between work life and love life.
Don’t Forget to Enjoy It
There is good news. When workplace dating goes well, it goes really well. Happily coupled-up workers have reported higher job satisfaction. And the office is surprisingly a great place to vet a future partner. You can learn a lot about someone’s temperament and goals, also, sometimes you can fall in love even more when you watch someone excel
Think carefully about sex in the workplace
It’s all part of the package of an office romance but if you don’t want your cloakroom exploits broadcast at the next office social… be extremely aware of CCTV security cameras.
Be careful with e-mails
Hit the wrong key and the whole building will know how you like your donuts and whipped cream. It’s likely that your company can access your e-mails anyway so be cautious. It’s best to stick to your personal accounts for any, ahem, personal messages you may be sending to the person you’re dating.
Spend breaks and some social time after work with other colleagues
This helps to continue to be seen as part of the team and as independent from your partner. Spending so much time together can be a challenge, so it may be helpful to find your own space through having different hobbies and friends. All couples handle this differently, so find out what sort of balance works for you.
Prepare an Exit Strategy
The biggest hazard of workplace relationships is also the biggest hazard of all relationships: They end. But with a clear, solution-focused conversation, it is manageable. If you break up, agree on rules for how you want to interact with each other at work; this can prove very helpful in the period directly after a break-up.
Avoid making office romances a habit
It’s one thing if you happen to fall for the person you take lunch with every day. But if you realize that this is the fourth time you’ve gotten romantically involved with a co-worker, not only should you expand your dating pool, but have a chat with yourself about how this could be affecting your career path.