There was a time when one’s work place was just that, a place to work. You would return home after a hard day to your wife/husband, your kids, your flat-mate or even your dog, take off that suit or skirt and blazer and transform back into you (or at least, the home version of you). Your co-workers were people you talked to about business, went to meetings with or occasionally had a drink with after a long day at the office. And your wife/husband, kids, flat-mate and your dog were those you were intimate with, those who knew you on a personal level, those who would snuggle up next to you on the couch during a good movie. However, now more than ever the lines between work and home are becoming blurred as long hours and close quarters are spurring office liaisons.
Most advise to stay far away from involving in the sticky inter-office dating, and many companies often have a policy directly against the whole idea, but hasn’t it always been human nature to give into temptation (for more reading on the subject, please refer to the first few chapters of The Bible)?
So before biting into that apple, the following the guidelines should stand you in good stead and ensure your blossoming office romance doesn’t jeopardize your professional reputation.
-DO exercise caution when making the first move. Instead of emailing, make a quick phone call suggesting a drink after work. If they say no, let it be. If they yes, chose a place far away from work where you won’t be seen.
-DO brush up on your company’s policy on relationships between co-workers. The last thing you need to do is get fired for making sultry-eyes at your gorgeous cube-mate!
-DO examine your potential mate before diving into a relationship. If you don’t like the way they act at work, you probably won’t like the way they act outside of the office.
-DO make sure it’s not just a fling: office relationships can be messy, especially if they end badly. Make sure you are both serious about starting the relationship for the right reasons and are not just looking for an outlet to relieve your boring day by going at it in the copy room.
-DO tell your boss first if your relationship becomes serious. Before gossiping to a fellow co-worker, make an appointment with your boss to tell her/him about the relationship so she/he doesn’t end up hearing about it through the office rumor mill.
-DO keep your co-workers in mind. It might make for an awkward work dynamic if your co-workers know you’re engaging in out-of-work activities with one of their kind.
-DO maintain personal relationships with friends and family outside of the office. If your relationship ends or you get fired, you will need support from outsiders.
-DO be prepared to resign. If your relationship is discovered and does not sit favorably with your boss and/or colleagues, or if it reaches a very serious level (i.e. you decided to tie the knot), be prepared to look for another job so others don’t accuse you of playing favorites.
-DON’T only think about the present. Remember that office break-ups don’t often end well. Whether or not your break-up ends amicably, you still have to see the person almost every day.
-DON’T rush things. Remember you get to see each other almost every day and can casually get to know each other at work. Don’t feel you have to hop right in bed with each other.
-DON’T bring the bedroom into the office, needless to say especially if your relationship is undercover. Remember that someone could always be watching (and could rat you out) whether it be a jealous co-worker or the cleaning lady.
-DON’T spend company functions and business trips flirting or showing PDA. Although those events may seem more relaxed than a regular day in the office, acting like a couple could affect your potential for getting a raise, promotion, etc.
-DON’T start arguments at work. As said above, keep your home-life and work-life separate (this includes bringing the fight you had over dinner last night into the office).
-DON’T slack in your work ethic. Continue to work as hard as you did before your relationship started – you don’t want to have to make a choice between your co-worker or your career if you can at all help it.
-DON’T send emails during work. Before sending that sexy email to your partner, remember that emails can potentially be read by anyone, including your boss! It’s very easy to slip up here, especially with Outlook having that ‘handy’ auto address selector.
-DON’T ever date your boss or your assistant. Not only will it be a constant power struggle, but there are very few chances of it ending well.
Written by Tom Finnigan, an office worker and sadly single guy from the online recliner sofas experts.
- How to Keep Your Discipline When Working From Home (fastswings.com)
- The Best Places to Flirt at Work (singleonlinedating.org)