It’s safe to assume that office romances are a tale as old as… well, offices and romance.
If workplace sparks begin to fly, conventional wisdom has usually dictated that they be extinguished. After all, that’s a fire that can generate a lot of smoke.
Dating a colleague is inherently complicated. But there’s no reason to miss out on what could be a wonderful, meaningful connection. If someone at work is into you, and the feeling is mutual, see where it goes! But you need to exercise caution, think it through, and establish some boundaries.
Here are a few hard and fast dos and don’ts for dating coworkers. It’s a tricky business, but if you’re careful, it could also be a treat!
Do: Think About Your Professional and Legal Obligations
You may think your relationship is no one’s business—but it might be your business’s business.
Your company’s Human Resources department probably has quite a specific policy concerning workplace relationships. In general, you don’t have to disclose that you’re dating a coworker.
However, if you are dating someone above or beneath you (at the office, that is), you’ll probably have to let HR know. Going out with superiors or subordinates, or those in a managerial role who can promote or demote you is a conflict of interest. Tread with caution if this is the case.
Also, make sure your well-intentioned flirting is reciprocated. Romantic approaches towards a coworker can be perceived as sexual harassment. Don’t be creepy!
Don’t: Tilt the Scales of the Work-Life Balance
If you start dating someone you work with, you’re going to be seeing a lot of them. Day and night.
Make every effort to keep work at work and home at home. Don’t mention relationship grievances at work, nor office situations on your own time. From 9-5, your significant other is just a colleague— make sure to treat them accordingly!
Maintain boundaries between personal and professional life, and you’ll be doing both your job and your relationship a favor.
Do: Be Discreet
While you may have to let someone in your office know about your new flame, keep it lowkey. Reserve couple activities for outside of the office.
It’s wise to keep your coworkers in the dark about your office romance—at least until it gets a bit more serious. Of course, mention it to your best friends at work, but don’t get too detailed!
Remember to be professional in the workplace. Avoid those
glances, pillow talk, and PDA at all costs.
Above all, don’t hook up on company premises
. It’s not worth the risk!
Don’t: End on Bad Terms
If your whirlwind workplace romance should come to an end, it’s important that it ends amicably.
You may have to encounter your ex for the rest of your time at that job. Let go of disagreements, resentment, and any unpleasant exchanges that might have accompanied the breakup. Talk it through until you can be civil and continue to work together. You can bet that your coworkers will have no patience for your inability to get along with an ex in the workplace.
If it didn’t work out, no worries! There are plenty of fish in the sea and plenty of seas that aren’t your workplace.