Office Romance – Yes or No?
It's no wonder with people spending more and more hours engaged in work or work related activity that it becomes our primary source of meeting people.
We've all had countless friendships that have grown from professional beginnings but what about romantic partners - is it a good idea?
We're certainly not here to stand in the way of true love, and in fact statistically it is shown that office romances are more likely to result in marriage than the romp with the guy/gal you met in a bar, but here's our advice for carefully navigating your way through.
Check Company Guidelines
Before jumping into anything, make sure you read your company handbook or policies. Some companies have strict regulations regarding fraternization and may require disclosure to HR. Other companies restrict relationships between direct reports or those that may provide conflict of interest. Check to be sure, and if you are comfortable having a word to HR, there's no harm in asking the question - hypothetically of course ;)
He / She could be the love of your life or perhaps it's not meant to be - do you really want to be part of the lunch room gossip?
Jenny* and Kevin* were colleagues at the same accounting firm and dated for two years before deciding to marry. It was only then that they decided to let their team mates in on the secret. After 7 years of marriage and 2 children, they now laugh about their clandestine days and their secret office romance.
Make sure it's worth it
Before embarking on the romantic adventure, make a realistic assessment about the potential longevity of the relationship. No matter how delicately you tread, an office romance can be high risk. Don't put your job and career on the line for a short term fling.
*Ming had been sharing secret glances with an attractive colleague in the office. But in reality he knew that she had just come out of a long term relationship and that they had nothing in common. He knew they would both be considered for an upcoming promotion and decided not to risk his career for a brief flirtation or dalliance.
Keep work at the office
If you do launch into an office romance, don't bring work home with you! It's not healthy for the relationship, especially if there are potential conflicts or sources of stress. We all need time to relax and unwind and time with your partner should be exactly this! By the same token, keep things professional at work - no you can't help them access their personnel file and they won't put in a good word with the boss for you and absolutely no kissing in the lunch room!
Keep it Classy
If sadly things do come to an end, we know how hard it is to see their face every day but stay cool, classy and professional.
Jemma* has horrified when two of her colleagues broke up and tried to pull her in the middle of it, asking her to speak on their behalf and pass notes. In the end she had no choice but to complain to HR.
We're not here to be the Anti-Cupid of the workplace, but consider us the voice of reason!