How To Date
In The Workplace
by Abigail Dye
Romance in the workplace can be very compelling – and dangerous for so many reasons. Forbidden love tugs at the heartstrings of many, from the hopeless romantic to the stone-cold womanizer. It makes sense that people who work together are drawn to one another. The average American works 34.4 hours a week, which is plenty of time to get to know co-workers. 38 percent of American workers admit that they have dated a co-worker during their career, according to a survey conducted by careerbuilder.com. So, if you’re feeling a little heat in the workplace, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Keep in mind these six simple rules to keep you, your love interest, and your human resources department happy.
Know Your Company’s Policy It is perfectly legal for any employer to develop an across the board no-dating policy. A company could have an anti-fraternization policy, which could restrict employees from dating or socializing. In other cases, companies set policies that prohibit a relationship only between supervisors and subordinates. These policies are set in line to minimize workplace discrimination and drama, so they are important to know and respect. Being aware of your company’s dating policy leads us to our next rule.
Inform Your Superiors Step two is to be completely transparent with your boss about the relationship. It is possible that your company has a consensual relationship notification policy to eliminate harassment in the workplace. In which case, it would be essential that your superiors know about the relationship. Even if there is no policy, it is vital that the people around you know that you and your co-worker are in a consensual relationship. This helps avoid any misunderstandings concerning harassment and boundaries.
No PDA In The Workplace When you’re at work, you need to be fully at work. It is unprofessional to kiss, snuggle, play footsie, or show any public display of affection in the workplace. This type of behavior not only distracts you from the task at hand, but it also makes you appear unethical to your co-workers and your superiors. Immature actions like these are what lead companies to develop no-dating policies in the first place. Besides, the affection will be much more appreciated at home after a full day of waiting for it.
Don’t Take Work Stress Home This one can be hard, especially if you are both passionate about where you work. It is important for you and your significant other to relieve work stress, but essential that you don’t bring work problems to the dinner table. After the day is done, leave the numbers and figures at the office and focus on one another at home. Ask your partner to stop you if you bring up a work-related topic during the conversation, and do the same for them. Change the subject, watch a movie, or play a card game – enjoy each other. Work is for the stress, home is for the love.
Don’t Get Involved With The Wrong Person… Or People The point here is that it is okay to date in the workplace. But, if you want to date your boss or your subordinate – it might not be so okay. When it comes to dating someone above or below you, favoritism will become a huge ordeal with your co-workers. Even if there is no bias at all, people will assume there is and surely gossip about it. Be 100 percent aware of what you and your partner are getting into. Also, make sure you don’t turn the workplace romance into a trend. If you date more than one person at your place of work, that will be another hot topic in the break-room. The workplace is not a place to look for love, but if you find it there – good for you.
The Worst-Case ScenarioIt is very important that you and your significant other talk about what could happen if you break up. As sad as it sounds, it is a possibility that you need to consider and plan for. You both must understand this, and be okay with it. Then, you both need to agree to keep it professional no matter what happens. In the case of a breakup: no asking co-workers to pick sides, no trash-talking one another, and no planned uncomfortable public confrontations. Of course, it would be ideal that this relationship leads to the altar, but you both need to be prepared for it leading to a little bit of workplace awkwardness.
Finally, per the survey conducted by careerbuilder.com, a shocking 31 percent of people who date co-workers end up getting married. This goes to show that romance in the workplace may not be practical, but it is 100 percent possible.