Love is in the air! And, sometimes, it’s right under our noses – at work. Falling for a colleague or supervisor can be exciting, but office romance situations can also be tricky and awkward. If mishandled, office romances can disrupt teams, departments and even careers. That’s why discretion and mutual respect are essential to the survival of any office romance. Here, we’ll discuss what to do – and what not to do – when you find yourself in an office romance situation.
What to Do in an Office Romance Situation:
Know when to keep work separate from romance. Because you spend so much time together at work, it’s easy for conversations to stray into business territory outside the office.
When you’re in a relationship with a coworker, it is important to maintain boundaries and keep your personal life separate from work. Treat each other as professionals while at the office. This means no flirting, teasing or touching each other in a romantic way while at work.
What Not to Do in an Office Romance Situation:
Don’t date someone you know you can’t have a future with. If you’re not sure if you want to be with the person long-term, break things off before it goes any further. If you are interested in having a future with him/her, then continue the relationship and see where it takes you.
Don’t date your boss or supervisor. This can be very awkward for both parties if the relationship doesn’t work out. It will also make other employees uncomfortable because they may feel as though they can’t be honest with you or that you may show favouritism to your partner.
Opt not to date someone in the same department as you. This is one of the most awkward situations because it could cause a conflict of interest between co-workers. If things don’t work out, this will make working together very difficult as well as make your colleagues uncomfortable due to the conflict of interest.
We spend close to 40% of our time daily at the workplace and falling in love with a colleague or supervisor is sometimes inevitable. It is important to know that office romance situations are tricky and can be awkward when mishandled as they disrupt teams, departments and even careers.
Discretion and mutual respect are the ultimate remedies to the survival of any office romance.
This calls for a delicate balance by the lovebirds to keep work out of the romance and vice versa. This helps to avoid redirecting your colleagues’ speculations since it is counter productive. It also comes in handy should the relationship hit the rocks as you are in the habit of keeping your professional and personal lives private.
This means keeping hands off each other at work. Public displays of affection should be avoided at all times especially at the workplace. When couples get used to showing their feelings and emotions in front of their colleagues, it becomes hard to control them when there is a confrontation or misunderstanding. Being publicly affectionate also creates an unprofessional atmosphere that also questions the couple’s productivity at work.
Office romance could in some companies get you sent packing. It is therefore important to know workplace policies especially on romantic relationships between employees. Some companies acknowledge that relationships between colleagues can occur and provide guidelines for appropriate or inappropriate behavior.
Avoid the perception of impropriety
When a workplace romance involves people with two different levels of power, colleagues may come to believe that manipulation is involved. Such a relationship can lead to claims of favoritism by other employees. It may seem like the senior employee provides preferred work assignments to his or her partner. Should the relationship end, it would poke holes whether or not it was consensual, sexual harassment was involved or that a poor performance review caused the retaliation.
It is therefore important to weigh all possible options before falling in love with a colleague and your ability to handle a heartbreak should it turn sour.