The Unarguable Do’s and Don’ts of Having an Office Romance

If you’ve been locking eyes with a special someone across the room, making flirtatious small talk at the water cooler, or day-dreaming of the two of you running off into the sunset together; you may want to give it some proper thought before progressing your office romance!

Though there are a lot of positives to working with your significant other, there are also a lot of dangers of getting involved with a colleague! So whether you’re already seeing someone at work, or you’re thinking about it, here are a few do’s and don’ts of office romances:

DO know your company’s policy

Before getting involved with a colleague you may want to double check your company’s policy on relationships among coworkers, to avoid violating any rules or harming your position in the company. Each organisation has different regulations regarding the topic and whereas some may not have any rules in place, others may be against dating colleagues, or wish for you to disclose your relationship.

DON’T  let it affect your work

Having an office crush can be distracting enough in the workplace, let alone actually getting romantically involved with a colleague! If you do start a relationship with someone from work, it is important that you don’t let it affect your work. Stay on task and continue as you were before you became an item. This means that you should treat each other professionally during work hours, without allowing personal feelings or lovers tiffs get in the way.

DO be discreet

Your other colleagues don’t want to watch you kissing or cuddling at work, trust me. Not only could it make them feel uncomfortable, but it also opens you up to gossip, so I’d  refrain from office PDAs! The same goes for after work drinks, office parties and other work functions. If you really can’t refrain yourself, at least keep your flirtations subtle!

If you’re concerned it could affect your reputation or team dynamics at work, it may even be a good idea to keep your relationship a secret in the early days.

DON’T move to fast

When you’re spending every single day with each other, things can get intense very quickly. Try not to get too wrapped up in a whirlwind romance and instead think properly about the consequences of your relationship. Getting involved with a coworker is different to other relationships, as a break up could be damaging to your job and the rest of your team who have to work alongside the two of you. Take it slowly and determine if you’re serious about the relationship. If not, nip it in the bud!

DO be prepared for the response

People love a good gossip and by entering an office romance you’re setting yourself up to become centre of it! Any details about your relationship you choose to share with colleagues will spread like wild fire, so keep it to a minimum, no matter how much you want to talk to your workmates about it! You have to understand that not everyone will agree with it, so be prepared for a negative response from some.

DON’T date your boss

This can never end well. Not only can it make things very complicated when you’re reporting directly to your other half at work, but your peers may feel that you are being treated differently because of it or offered better opportunities off the back of your relationship.

The same goes for dating someone who directly reports to you, as you open yourself up to a sexual harassment suit if things go sour and it won’t do much for your reputation either!

DO set boundaries

Right a the beginning the two of you should have a discussion about how you will conduct yourself at work and how it could affect you if it didn’t work out. Setting boundaries early on will help you to maintain professionalism while in the office and prevent it from affecting your responsibilities and collaborations at work.

DON’T communicate via work email

Exchanging saucy messages via the work email system opens up the risk of some very dangerous slips of the key! One wrong click and you’ve sent it to the entire department and nobody wants to know about your antics behind closed doors! A lot of companies have access to your work emails anyway, so eliminate the risk by sticking to your own personal means of communication.

DO behave professionally if it ends

Not all relationships work out, so if things go south between the two of you, it is important that it does not impact your behaviour at work. Chances are that you are still going to have to work alongside each other, so make sure you remain professional, so that business is not affected and other colleagues don’t feel uncomfortable or dragged into conflict.

DON’T get involved if they’re married

This is an absolute no go! You may find that you grow closer to a colleague when you spend every day with them, however if they are already in a relationship then you must refrain from acting upon any feelings that develop. It will only end in drama and heartache.

Image: Pablo