Romance doesn’t come easy these days. As people’s careers and schedules become increasingly more demanding, alternative measures to dating seem like viable options. Let’s face it; online dating just isn’t for everyone. But, if you spend most of your waking hours at work, and are open to the idea, then love just might be around the corner, a few cubicles down.
In fact, a recent study conducted by Vault.com, states that four out of ten of us have engaged in a little flirting around the water cooler and have eventually been romantically linked to someone in the office. Out of that group, approximately a quarter of those romantic connections wind up in long-term relationships and even marriages.
That said, an even greater percentage of you strongly believe that an office romance can wind up wreaking havoc on your career, potentially damaging your working relationships and reputation at the office. If that’s your stance, these do’s and don’ts of office romance might alter your outlook and help you see that love can conquer even the most uptight of all office spaces.
Office Dating Do’s:
- Do take the practical approach to a potential attraction towards a co-worker. Make sure to review the policies of your employer before making a move. Just like any other move, make sure the benefits out weigh the risks. In other words, if company policy says no dating, don’t do it. If it’s not mentioned and it feels right to you, give it a shot.
- Do see the reality of the situation for what it is. Dating someone at work might not be an option for you. If no one else in your office is dating a co-worker there may be a reason for it. Don’t force things. If your interest is based solely on physicality, be careful. (See benefits vs. risks)!
- Do play it cool. Dating a co-worker can start a firestorm of tittle-tattle, controversy and water-cooler gossip, so it’s best to keep things quiet for as long as you can – or at least until you know if it’s serious. Even then, if you’re not ready for the weird looks, awkward smirks and whispers, then think again before asking that colleague out. Play it cool and don’t give people any excess reason to spread rumors.
- Do continue to do your work and keep up with your responsibilities. If you’re dating a higher up, you may not want to slack off and give your co-workers any reason for contempt or potential resentment. If you get promoted with the help of your office-mate, then keeping up with your productivity will be essential to keeping your reputation in-place amongst your co-workers.
Office Dating Don’ts:
- Don’t get involved with anyone who is, or could potentially be a subordinate. If someone reports to you, forget it. In fact, forget even thinking about it. The potentials and risk for a lawsuit and consequences are greater than the benefits. You’re better off thinking about handing in your letter of resignation before you ask your assistant out.
- Don’t be reckless. Showing your feelings and getting physical on the job might not be the best idea. The “h” word, i.e. harassment or even worse yet the “s.h.” word, as in sexual harassment can destroy everything you’ve worked so hard for. If things don’t go well between you and your new found love they could quickly turn to legal heartache, if you’re not careful. Simply leave the heavy petting and cat calling outside of the workplace and spare yourself the potential embarrassment by avoiding the chance of harassment accusations.
- Don’t abuse or take advantage of the situation. Never use company funds to entertain your newly found special-someone. Don’t leave triple-x voicemails, notes or emails for your office babe.
- Don’t ever engage in sexual activity on company property. This one’s fairly straightforward. And yes, company property includes stairwells, supply closets, restrooms and company parking lots.
Everyone’s looking to connect with someone, but office romancers should proceed with caution. It might feel natural to engage in a romantic relationship with a co-worker but the potential ingredients for disaster are always there if not avoided by taking heed of the do’s and don’t office romance.
At the end of the day, the main point to making a relationship with a coworker work is to be open to it – but particularly practical considering the unique situation.
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