Dating your co-worker? Beware!
From flirtations in the copy room to after-work drinks that lead to a walk down the aisle, office romances can be an exciting, if risky, proposition
While some bosses say that they’re not worth pursuing at all, others say that dating in the office may actually be good for business, particularly when such relationships make workers happy.
“I think happy employees equal higher profitability,” ABC News quoted Tom Szaky, the CEO of the New Jersey-based recycling company Terracycle, as saying.
“Isn’t that what every CEO is in the business of?” he said.
If you do decide to mix business with pleasure, there are some tips from workplace author Caitlin Friedman on how to do it while minimizing the impact on your career.
A workplace romance can have serious consequences for your reputation, so do take it seriously.
“It just makes people uncomfortable,” Friedman said.
“Even if they say they are O.K. with it, they’re not,” Friedman said.
It is advised not to have public displays of affection, as nobody wants to see it, Friedman said.
It is also best if you don’t travel for business together, as it can lead to troubling questions.
Don’t talk about your relationship with your colleagues. Although from a gossip perspective, your co-workers want all of the details but no matter what you say, you will be judged.
Do think about who will be impacted if the relationship goes south. Are there clients you both work for? People who report to you who would feel their loyalties tested if you broke up?
Don’t change your public persona when your partner is in the room, especially during meetings. Everyone will be watching your dynamic, especially in the early stages of your relationship … so try to behave consistently. For instance, don’t suddenly start agreeing with your partner if you hadn’t done so before.
Do check in with each other as the relationship progresses to see if it’s time to make a professional change. If you are in this for the long haul, then maybe one of you should consider looking for a new job.
Don’t date someone who reports directly to you. Even if it is consensual, you will be vulnerable to a sexual harassment suit.
Do consider keeping it secret for as long as possible. It can be really satisfying and really fun to have a relationship that is just between the two of you.
Don’t move too fast. Sure, you have lots in common already — you share a company and colleagues. But on an emotional level and on a personal level, you are still getting to know each other.