About 40 percent of people have dated a co-worker according to a survey by CareerBuilder and 30 percent of them wound up getting married. It's natural for love to bloom when adults spend time together and pursue common goals. These are some steps that will be good for both your career and your love life.
Steps to Take Before You Get Involved
1. Get to know your company policies. Fewer companies are prohibiting workplace romances completely because these policies are difficult to enforce and inconsistent application creates legal risks of its own. Still, ensure you understand any restrictions that your employer has in place.
2. Look outside your department. Intimate relationships with people outside of your immediate department are often less problematic for everybody. Be open to getting to know someone better through the company softball league or community service programs.
3. Approach relationships between supervisors and subordinates with caution. Entanglements between managers and the people they supervise pose the greatest risk for sexual harassment claims and other pitfalls. Think carefully about the risks to your job and consider drafting a written contract similar to a prenuptial if you decide to proceed.
Steps to Take During Your Romance
1. Disclose your relationship if possible. That same CareerBuilder survey found that 72 percent of workers went public with their office relationships. If circumstances permit, transparency will give you more peace of mind instead of sneaking around.
2. Minimize public displays of affection. Embrace each other on your own time. Waiting until an appropriate time may increase your passion and will certainly help your co-workers feel more comfortable.
3. Maintain relationships with other co-workers. Romantic feelings can sometimes blind people to everything but each other. Show your colleagues that you're still part of the team by staying engaged.
4. Fulfill your responsibilities. Stay on top of your work load. Channel your energies into being productive rather than excess daydreaming or socializing.
5. Limit your email to business purposes. However private email feels, remember that you're using company equipment and time. Play it safe by asking yourself if you would feel comfortable if anyone happened to see your messages to each other.
6. Schedule time apart. If you're spending your work hours with someone you're dating, you may need to make a special effort to give each other some independent time. Stick to your weekly poker night or go away for the weekend to reconnect with your old college roommates.
7. Cooperate with your supervisor. Your employer has legitimate concerns about workplace relationships that could trigger lawsuits or interfere with business operations. By being proactive and collaborative, you can help create a more trusting and positive atmosphere.
Steps to Take If Your Office Romance Ends
1. Remain professional. Plan ahead in case your romance ends while you're still working together. If you know you want to continue in your current position, be prepared to remain cordial and professional in your daily interactions.
2. Take a breather. The more people you date at any one office, the more complicated your life may become. Take some time off after a break up to evaluate how you feel and how it affects your job performance.
3. Change your routine. It may be especially challenging to change jobs these days but you can shake up your routine if you need to shift your attention away from painful reminders of a past relationship. If you were used to commuting home together, sign up for an adult education class or visit a gym after work.
If you're like many people today, you probably spend much of your time at the office. By taking the right precautions, you may be able to seize the opportunity to find love while remaining a good employee.