Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so it seems to be the right time to talk a little bit about romance in the workplace. In today’s business world, dating someone you work with is not at all uncommon.
Studies show that after online dating, the workplace is the second biggest place where people meet their significant others. It makes a lot of sense. You are sharing the same space for eight or more hours a day with people who tend to be like-minded and have similar life goals.
Also, the everyday stresses of work life tend to be an easy thing to relate and bond with an individual over. A study conducted by Payscale even showed that 20 percent of people who give office romance a shot end up marrying that colleague.
While it can be a great thing, office romances can also cause a lot of undesirable stress and tension. Surely, ending an office relationship can be uncomfortable for both parties, since they have no choice but to continue to see each other every day, despite the fact that the relationship has dissolved.
Here’s a list of dos and don’ts to take into consideration if you plan ton asking a colleague to be your Valentine this year.
Know Your Company’s Policy
Every company tends to have a bit of a different policy when it comes to dating among colleagues. There isn’t one golden rule, so if you’re thinking about asking someone from work out, it might be best to make sure right away that you know where your company stands on this issue.
There are some organizations that make it a requirement for you to come forth with the relationship and let your higher-ups know about it. Others don’t. Romance is an important part of life, but you shouldn’t allow it to negatively affect your career in any way. So do the research and check out your company’s policy before you set the ball rolling.
Try to Keep it a Secret
Even if the company requires that you tell the bosses about the relationship, you shouldn’t have to tell everyone. One of the best reasons for keeping it a secret is that it can be fun. Having a special relationship with someone while keeping it hidden from plain sight at work can be thrilling and fun for both of you.
You will need to avoid public displays of affection at work whatever you decide. Even if you do decide to tell coworkers about the relationship, you should still resist the PDA. The only thing it can lead to is making your other colleagues feel uncomfortable around you.
Take it Seriously
No matter how much you want it to be, an office romance is unlike any other romance. It comes with its own rules, and it’s something that you should take very seriously, not only to help make it a successful relationship, but to avoid issues if the relationship does end up going sour in the end.
The truth of the matter is that a workplace romance has the potential to impact many more people than a regular romance, whether it lasts or ends. And if the relationship does end, try to be as professional about it as possible. It might be incredibly hard to do, but making sure that no negativity enters the workplace as a result is something you need to do. It doesn’t only affect the two of you, it can affect coworkers and clients as well.
It was mentioned earlier, but it should be reiterated. Public displays of affection at work should be absolutely prohibited. No one in the office wants to see that, no matter how relaxed they seem about your relationship. It is something that has no place in the office. This includes not only kissing, but also hugging, hand-holding, and even winking and sending kisses to each other across the office.
These rules should not only apply to work hours, but to all work-related functions, including holiday parties and even trips to the bar with colleagues after work.
It’s also important not to let the relationship affect other relationships you have around the office. If you’ve been going to lunch with the same group of people all year, don’t suddenly abandon them because you all of a sudden only have eyes for your office flame.
Let it Affect Your Work
It’s important not to change the person and employee you are when your partner is present. This could make things really weird in meetings and when working with a group of people in which your partner is included. Be sure not to treat that person any differently than before.
If your partner has an idea which you don’t agree with, say something. Don’t let it slide just because of your relationship. Things should be the same way they were before you became an item.
Discuss it with Other Coworkers
Your coworkers are probably going to want to hear the juicy details about your relationship, but you must not give them any. Feeding the office gossip machine is the worst thing that you can possibly do for your relationship and your job.
Discussions of your relationship have no place in the office, no matter how bad you’d like to talk about it. You must remember that you are not the only person affected by what is said.
An office romance can be very rewarding. The workplace is a great place to meet someone who you might be able to connect with romantically on a long-term basis. Just be smart about it and try to keep your romantic life and your business life as separate as possible in these circumstances.