When you spend most of your waking hours in an office working closely with other people, it’s not difficult to develop romantic feelings for the cool guy in design or the nice woman in finance. After all, we’re all human.
When these feelings are reciprocated, it can leave your heart fluttering for days (awww, lucky you!) but it also raises questions around what’s appropriate for budding office romances, and how you should handle a fresh relationship around your colleagues, boss and clients. Sometimes, things can get ugly.
So, in the name of romance, we’ve rounded up some sage advice for those of you keen to embark on a relationship with a colleague.
But don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Know your office romance policies Ain’t nothing like a “policy” to kill the romance, but it exists for a reason. If an office relationship turns sour, it can affect everyone. Have you ever been witness to a relationship fallout between the boss and a subordinate? It’s not pretty.
While it’s no longer a typical practice for most companies, some do enforce no-romance policies or at least require disclosure on the relationship. From an HR perspective, it helps give them oversight to prevent workplace disharmony and to protect the business.
To help your new relationship flourish in a kosher way, be on top of your office policies and know what’s expected of you as an employee.
Practice discretionIt should go without saying, but you’d be surprised - no hugging, kissing, lusty glances, sappy emails on work accounts and essentially overkill PDA in the office. Come on, lovers! We know you can’t get enough of each other, but leave it at home.
Your romance is a private affair, so keep it that way. Public displays of affection are a definite no-no. Your colleagues and clients should have no idea you are a couple. Keep it professional, kids.
Prepare for changes in office dynamicsEspecially if the relationship is between boss and employee, you’re gonna have to deal with some uncomfortable situations. Other colleagues might think someone is getting preferential treatment because of the nature of the relationship, or they might start leaving you out of conversations because they don’t want to talk about the boss (aka your new lover) in front of you anymore. You can’t deny it - it’s gonna change things, so be prepared and make sure it’s worth it.
Don’t bring work home A healthy office relationship is 100% possible, but the problems can start at home instead. If you work together, chances are even when you’re not in the office, all you do is talk about work. It’s understandable - you spend all your time there together - but don’t let it shroud your relationship. Make sure you spend time talking about other things, experiencing new activities together, and doing things that have nothing to do with work.
Don’t let a break-up get in the way of work If you decide to embark on a relationship in the office, you’ve got to be prepared for the worst case scenario. You will need to continue working together. You’ll need to have meetings, be polite to each other, give each other feedback and just be around each other on a daily basis.
If you break up, deal with the fallout outside the office. At work, it’s strictly business. Be adults and discuss how you plan to work together so that neither of your jeopardise your careers.
Enjoying our advice? Show our Career Center some love, too :)