These days, a sizeable number of working professionals get into relationships at their workplace. Keeping in mind the amount of time that they spend at the workplace, it’s not quite unusual for them to fall in love with a co-worker. Due to the numerous social occasions that are conducted at the workplace, an infatuation can turn into love within a short span of time. However, there sure are some risks that are associated with dating a co-worker and may cause serious consequences if things don’t get along well. Therefore, if you have an intimate relationship with a co-worker or you are thinking about approaching someone, don’t forget to keep a few things in mind while working with your lover in the same office:
Guidelines and Policies for Office Romances:
1. Get familiar with the office dating policies:
Looking for your soulmate at office may not always be favorable for you since most companies have strict rules against it. Therefore, before dating an office colleague, find out about your organization’s policies regarding office relationships in advance. Therefore, if you intend to date a co-worker, be subtle, cautious and ready to face the consequences if the management comes to know about it. Although there are no clearcut policies opposing such relationships, find out the view of the top management about office romances. If you find that office romances are taken casually and happen at your workplace on a regular basis, then it is great.
2. Have an initial discussion about the status of the relationship:
As in the case of all relationships, engaging in ‘’where we are heading’’ conversation can seem awkward. And if you are dating a colleague, you need to do it sooner than in other cases. Relationship experts are of the view that in majority of relationships such a stage comes three-four months after you start dating. However, people working in the same office need to have such a conversation after four dates itself.
While conversing, you need to speak about the seriousness of your relationship and how both of you would handle the situation if the relationship ends. You have to discuss about how you are going to behave with each other at work when such a situation arises. You should know whether it leads to embarrassment making one of you to shift the workplace. Though engaging in such a discussion may not give you the best of feelings, it is still wise to raise the topic. Don’t wait till it impacts the performance of you or your co-worker to engage in such a conversation.
3. Spend some time with other colleagues:
You are likely to attract unwanted attention if you both spend time with each other. This situation can be avoided by meeting in the office when the door is closed. Also interact with other co-workers from time to time. It is not only about you, it is also about the uncomfortable feeling of your co-workers. Ensure that you are not spending too much time talking to your love. Moreover, avoid making any public display of affection at the workplace. They are not acceptable.
4. Maintain a high level of professionalism:
When you get into a relationship at your workplace, ensure that a high level of office decorum is maintained. Maintain a distance between professional and personal lives. If the senior management finds that work at your end is getting impeded due to a romantic relationship, you might be asked to either end the relationship or look for a new job. It is not in your interest to face such a situation. People find it difficult to concentrate on their work in open offices. They get distracted easily and an office love story is the last thing to add to their distraction.
And when a co-worker is faced with a situation where two of you are having an argument in the next cube, he or she might report about it to the HR. It is just not right to complain vent out your personal feelings and emotions while you are working. It does not matter whether you are dating an office mate or not.
5. Avoid sharing the same schedule:
To avoid the same schedule, don’t go for long vacations together. people will soon find out that both of you left for leave and came back at the same time. Therefore, try not to arrive or leave the office together since people will start getting suspicious about the intimacy of your relationship. This will lead to a considerable amount of rumours and gossips and spoil the work environment of the office. Avoid changing your personality when your partner is in the room, especially while you are attending meetings. People may judge how dynamic you are, especially during the early stage of your relationship. Therefore, you need to maintain your composure. For example, don’t start agreeing with your partner all of a sudden if you haven’t done so before.
6. Plan for last minute get togethers:
As both of you work together, there are high chances that both of you will be hanging out after work. Prepare for such chance meetings well in advance. If there are going to be frequent meetings after office hours, it is a great idea to have a secret shelf for old clothes. This would be specifically true if you are a woman as people pay a good deal of attention to clothes that are worn by ladies. Better preparedness can help you prevent unnecessary gossip.
7. Avoid complaining about your love interest to your co-workers:
Never do it, even if you are complaining about the person in a professional context. The psychologists state that once you get close to someone, stop complaining about the person in a personal or professional context. These lines are unclear. Therefore, it’s better to avoid speaking about the person you love while you are in office. It may have an adverse impact on his or her reputation and create a lot of misunderstanding between both of you. As a result there will be conflicts with your loved one on a regular basis. From the gossip perspective, your colleagues will always ask you for details, but come what may, you will always be judged. It is thus best to avoid such conversations completely.
8. Keep your relationship discreet:
Try keeping your relationship a secret as long as you can. It can be highly satisfying and funny to be in a relationship between colleagues. There is no necessity to send loads of email with ‘’the news’’ of the special relationship you have at office with your colleague that is beyond just professional. People have their own priorities, and will either feel that it is inappropriate or may get envious. Once you feel that both of you have a life together, converse with your love and come to a consensus when and how to speak about your personal bonds to your office mates and colleagues. If there is a lot of rumor being circulated, this may be the correct time. If no one pays attention, then there is no point of sharing.
9. Be sensible and respectful to the feelings of others:
Concentrate on your career and perform your task at hand, if your main aim is to minimize folklore about you. No one has the time to find out as to how deeply you love each other and how you both spent vacation together. You can talk about it with your relatives or pals outside work. Speaking about this relationship can cause distractions or make your workmates feel uncomfortable. Therefore, don’t do it.
10. Be ethical:
Just as you don’t let your personal differences with your mate affect your decisions that you make or how you deal with others at work, you don’t let your admiration for the person rule your decisions regarding work either. It is highly unfair not to pay significant attention to other’s work and not to involve them for taking decisions which are beneficial to them in the long run. Therefore, even if you have an ego problem, stop and control emotions, don’t you ever get yourself into any type of trouble.
11. Acquire a clear idea about possible legal pitfalls:
At present, employees are normally encouraged to report about incidents which are related to sexual harassment or issues which cause a unhealthy work environment. Since the feeling of a company’s staff tends to be diverse and varied, you are always at a risk of affecting someone’s sentiments. A single complaint to Human Resource Manager about PDA (Personal Display of Attention), showing special treatment, or words of affection will at least lead to an investigation and cause you a considerable amount of mental agony. Therefore, try to control your emotions as long as you are at the workplace.
12. Keep in mind the things which you would do when relationship succeeds:
Once a relationship becomes serious, often people tend to quit the employer totally or resign the job, since the closer you get, the higher will be the chance of the relationship affecting your job. This is the major reason why companies adopt different policies opposing nepotism, which is relevant to co-workers who are married. This is one thing which you need to think at an early stage and bear in mind even as your relationship progresses. However, if love continues to act as hindrance, don’t try too hard to fight for it. Only try to be aware of the risks well.