So, you’re dating someone you work with. Well, that’s not so unusual. Considering the amount of time people spend in the workplace, more time is spent around co-workers than family. About 35% of people have dated someone they work with. In the best case scenario, the relationship blossoms into one of permanency. In the worst case, it becomes awkward and possibly stressful if the relationship doesn’t end well.
Dating co-workers can be done successfully, as long as certain boundaries are set in place. The goal to office romances is to keep the relationships professional and discreet in the workplace.
I consulted an employee relations expert who offered the following advice to those choosing to date a co-worker:
- Keep personal matters separate from business – While in the workplace, business comes first. Only business should be discussed and conducted in the workplace with all job duties being performed in a professional manner. Keep your personal problems at home! The fact that you’re dating a co-worker should not be apparent to others in the office.
- Do not share personal business with other parties at work – sharing details of your office romance with other co-workers can become very messy, resulting in office gossip and disruption to the workflow. Every effort should be made to avoid workplace drama and to retain a peaceful environment at work.
- Set clear expectations – Both parties should be very clear with regards to the conduct expected in the office. Decide ahead of time how visible you both want the relationship to be in the workplace. Will you eat lunch together, work on projects together, carpool together, etc. This also includes giving your partner space at work to perform his or her duties, especially if it involves working closely with members of the opposite sex. There is no place for jealousy in the workplace!
- Report relationship -If one party in the relationship is supervising the other, the relationship should be reported to Human Resources. This may require one or both parties being placed in different positions.
There is always a risk to becoming involved in an office romance. As long as you adhere to the above guidelines, it can be a very positive experience. It was for me. I dated my co-worker four years before he became my husband. That was thirty years ago.