While an office might not be the most romantic of settings, feelings can blossom after accumulated flirtations at the copy machine and during lunch hours. If you find yourself falling for your coworker, proceed with caution. Though office romances can progress into solid relationships, they can be as risky as they are exciting. After all, your comfort in the workplace–and possibly even your job–can be at stake. Jim and Pam from The Office set the bar high for all office romances, but remember that your life isn’t a TV show. So, in order to prevent things from getting messy, here are 8 tips that give your office romance the best shot.
Do find out company policy. Some companies have policies that forbid dating within the office and you have to understand the potential consequences of doing so. If your company doesn’t permit relationships and you decide to date regardless, there’s a heightened need for maturity and discretion. You and your partner have to be committed to severing your relationship from your workplace and social media. You are going to have to decide whether this clandestine relationship is right for you and moreover, whether the risk to your employment is worth it. If you can have office relationships, you are still going to have to take care so that the dynamics of your dating relationship do not intrude into the work environment. I
Do communicate and make sure you’re both on the same page about the direction of the relationship. In office relationships, you have to spell out your intentions clearly and early on. Are you both looking for the same level of commitment? There are no guarantees that this relationship is going to work out, but it is good to know that you are both open to taking the relationship in a certain direction. The clearer your communication, the better you can avoid an awkward situations.
Don’t spill the beans to all of your coworkers . Gossip spreads fast in an office, and it’s best that you keep your relationship between you and your partner–the two people who really should be involved. Choose who you confide in carefully and be very cautious about the details you share. Keep the information to close, trustworthy friends only.
Do make time for each other outside of work. Being at work together doesn’t count as “quality time,” especially when you are keep your work relationship and your love relationship separate. So, be sure to carve out time to have uninhibited, relaxing time together, where you can enjoy each other’s company. While it might be tempting to only talk about work, be sure to vary up your conversation topics. Although you met at work, your relationship will hopefully evolve beyond the shared workspace.
Don’t bring your fights to the office. Be sure you’re both mature enough to put negative feelings away when you enter the workspace, so your relationship has no bearing on your job performance. Equally, you are going to have to work hard at not letting work situations affect your romantic life and create hurt feelings. You have to find a way to sort this all out.
Don’t engage in PDA. It will make your coworkers uncomfortable and draw unnecessary attention to your relationship. Plus, being discreet will save up all the fun for later in the day.
Do think about what will happen to both of your careers if the relationship ends. How will it affect working together? Do you work together frequently? Going in, it’s worth having a conversation about how the ending would be handled and the need for mutual respect and professionalism.
Do continue to act with coworkers the same way you did before you started dating your partner. Your reputation could be impacted by dating a coworker and your coworkers may be sensitive to situations where it feels that the work environment has changed because of this relationship. So, the best thing you can do is not let this relationships change your interactions with others.
By Elena Nicolaou, Relationup Staff Writer