Jokes have been written, memes have been created and warnings have been given: all to make people realise that they should keep work and pleasure separate, but when have we ever paid any attention to such warnings? Hooking up with co-workers is common in the workplace and people usually do so despite being aware of the pros and cons.
Office romances, flings and affairs are still in vogue, giving rise to havoc in both personal and professional life. Lucky are those few who can actually balance a relationship that spreads across professional and personal areas of life. But even if we are not talking about relationships, there are obviously other things.
Hooking up at the office Christmas party or getting together on an office trip: things happen. It could be either a momentary lapse in judgement or a moment that you both have been waiting for: sometimes it feels good to live in that moment. But moments pass and reality hits, sometimes it hits hard. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind to face the reality the morning after.
Related reading: The 9 Do’s And Don’ts Of Dating A Co-Worker
Hooking Up With Co-Workers – What You Should Know?
Is it wrong to date a coworker? Although there could be issues when you are dating a colleague but depending on the office ambience and the company policy it could be alright or a strict no-no.
Hooking up with co-workers is a different thing know. You do it purely for physical pleasure and there is no seriousness involved in the relationship. You could be hooking up with a colleague or a boss and it could be a one-night stand or a few sessions of mad passion. But there are some things that you should know and some rules you must follow when you are hooking up with co-workers.
1. Be clear about your intentions
This is a hard one. Office hook-ups usually spring up around innuendos and casual flirting. You cross the line before you know it is there.
But this is a litigious society and you are going to need verbal consent. You might be looking for a hook-up, while your partner may think it is the start of something.
So please be cautious about what you are getting into, because you might end up getting more than you bargained for. Communicate and be clear about intentions before you do something that you both regret. Sometimes it is wise to leave a casual flirting just as it is or things might get out of hand.
“I worked in an office in the UK where hook-ups were the most common thing and at my induction one of my colleagues told me that if anyone shows interest I should be treating it as a hook-up and not get too serious about it because that was the norm in the office,” said Rory Simpson, an advertising professional.
“This piece of advice was very helpful because it helped me navigate my relationship with my colleagues much better,” she said.
Related Reading: Confession Story: How I Dealt With Having An Affair With My Boss
2. Don’t attract attention
Now that you and your partner know what you want and what you do not, try to keep it to yourself. Don’t flaunt it, don’t draw attention.
As Kahlil Gibran says, “Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things.”
Yours may be a well-intentioned one-time hook-up or a first step towards a relationship: it is bound to get crooked and mashed up as a running joke in the office. It’s just human nature. You don’t want to be the hot topic by the water fountain. So try and be discreet about your personal affairs: they are, after all, none of anybody’s business.
3. Use caution while hooking up with co-workers
What should you know when you hook-up with a co-worker? Let us tell you. When it is an office hook-up, there are lots of things at play. Be cautious that you are not falling into a trap. Make sure that you are not being used by someone for ulterior motives.
Sex can be held against you like a gun to your head if you go in the wrong direction. Everything you say or do can be used against you if you are being manipulated by the partner you chose.
Be certain about the power equation and try not to end up at the sticky end of things. It is essential that you know when to stop. An office hook-up could lead to blackmail and stalking. Be very careful.
Related reading: Breached lines, broken hearts: An office romance
4. Don’t take advantage of your position
Don’t misread signals. Be positive that the other person wants it too for the right reason. For example, make sure that your partner is not saying ‘yes’ just because they don’t have an option to say ‘no’.
Consent given by a subordinate, when you are their direct boss, doesn’t really count in the court of law. If you have power over the person accusing you of misconduct and rape, then it falls under statutory rape.
A ‘yes’ is then immaterial, as you can be accused of coercing a submission. So if you are in the power position be very careful because a hook-up can be used against you later and that could not only lead to a legal battle but also a job loss.
5. Privacy is supreme
Please don’t use an office romance as a feather in your hat. Don’t brag about it after the event. Don’t save videos or photographs. Don’t talk about it or even drop hints.
And if you have an office policy against fraternising with your colleagues, then you should absolutely shut up. Sometimes an office hook-up can cost you your career.
Can you get fired if you are in a relationship with a co-worker? Yes, you can absolutely lose your job. Look up the office policy before you get into a hook-up or a relationship at work. Some offices are absolutely against any kind of relationships because that leads to favouritism and is often used as a ladder to climb the corporate ladder.
In that case instead of hooking up with a co-worker opt for people on dating apps. That’s safer.
Don’t let sex or intimacy be a thing between you and your colleague. Don’t take it emotionally if your colleague doesn’t support you in professional matters.
You could have had the most passionate sex with a colleague the night before and in the morning presentation you could be in two different teams and competing is the key.
If she is being the perfect professional and makes a better presentation and shows that you didn’t do your research well, don’t hold it against her. A hook-up does not change the professional equation between the two of you in any way.
You hooked up together and you both had a good time; that’s all. You don’t owe each other anything. So don’t expect it to change your equation with your partner. Try and maintain a professional relationship.
How often do co-workers hook-up? According to Vault.com survey on office romance 52% respondents said that they have had a “random hook-up” at the workplace. So hooking up with co-workers is common but don’t throw caution to the wind.
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