The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating in the Workplace

Hi — Tiffany here. OK, maybe I watch too many movies, but there is something exciting about an office romance. Maybe he’s the gorgeous new guy who makes your heart race and distracts you from your deadline, or the sweet, adorable man with whom you work closely day in and day out. Regardless of where you find him, eventually, the sparks fly and you can’t deny the attraction any longer.

Since most of our time is spent at the office, it’s not surprising that dating a colleague happens pretty often. In fact, according to a recent survey of 8,000 employees, conducted by the job-search website CareerBuilder.com, four out of 10 people have dated someone they work with. Add to that the Payscale office romance report that shows one out of five people who gave inter-office relationships a shot ended up marrying their coworker, and you may be tempted to try it yourself! However, there are some smart rules to follow before you dive in.

Do Follow The Company Policy On Dating

Every company is different and you need to be sure you aren’t violating any corporate regulations that could jeopardize your job and negatively impact your professional career. Many organizations have no-fraternization policies, so you need to decide if dating the guy is worth the risk of getting fired, if that is the case. If dating is allowed, do be open and honest, and be sure to notify your boss first before everyone else finds out. You don’t need to go into the details of your love life, but you and your coworker need to professionally acknowledge that you are dating so your supervisor is not caught off guard.

Do Set Rules From The Start

Before you and your colleague head down this path, it’s a good idea to have a discussion about what is appropriate and what is not. Even if you are open about the relationship, posting pictures and sharing TMI (too much information) on social media is a big no-no. The same should go for physical displays of affection in front of your coworkers (hot and heavy kissing and the innocent stuff like hugging and holding hands). Skip the cutesy terms of endearment. Keep it professional at the office, and work–related social gatherings — this even includes happy hour with your coworkers, no matter how difficult that may be!

Don’t Date The Boss

This is a BIG one. Dating someone higher on the office ladder than you can only lead to trouble, especially if he is the person you report to. If you seriously can’t resist each other, request to report to someone else or find another job. You need to be careful in this kind if situation, to avoid heated arguments and hard feelings within the relationship, or accusations of favoritism from coworkers who feel threatened by your relationship. It’s easy to become the target of office gossip when the boss is your main squeeze, and sadly you may be accused of using sex to get ahead, even though it’s just not true.

Don’t Bring Work Home

It’s hard not to talk shop when the day is done, but working together is not the only aspect of your relationship. Keeping the focus on work is a sure-fire way to fizzle out fast. You have to keep it professional at the office, but your private, personal time is a whole different story. On a separate note, spending all day and all night together can be too much of a good thing. It’s easy to get caught up in a new relationship, but don’t neglect the other aspects of your life, especially when dating a coworker. Carving out time for yourself, having lunch with a friend, or planning a girl’s night out is actually good for your relationship. Just don’t spend the entire time talking about your great new guy!

Some Final Thoughts

Although you may find the love of your life in the cubicle next to you, not all office romances end happily. If the relationship doesn’t work out, you still have to see that person every day — and work with him. Even if he was a total jerk, take the high road and don’t vent to coworkers about your negative feelings. Don’t fume or mope around, and don’t let your personal issues get in the way of your professional working relationship. You are both adults, so hopefully he will have the same respect for you. And if you follow Gregg’s advice, you will attract a quality man in no time — in or out of the office.

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