A workplace romance can be an exciting experience but the jury is still out on how acceptable it is. Some organizations have explicit policies against it whereas others are more open to the idea. While an office romance might be sizzling for the couple, it could also invite unwanted scrutiny from coworkers if not handled well.
People do fall in love in the workplace often. Sometimes the relationships work, and sometimes they don’t. But you have to know how to conduct yourself when you are dating in the workplace.
How To Handle Office Romance With a Coworker
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Rebecca and Alex fell for each other after they met at the workplace. They had one of the romantic-work relationships and everything was going fine for as long as their relationship was under wraps. But when they decided to get married and the wedding date was made official, trouble started, especially for Rebecca.
Her boss did not take their workplace romance in the right spirit. He started complaining that Rebecca was not spending as much time at her desk as she was at Alex’s and their lunch hours were becoming prolonged.
Rebecca felt she was being as professional as before and hadn’t allowed her relationship with Alex to get in the way of her work. But her boss began creating issues and the last nail in the coffin was driven when she called in sick while Alex was also on a holiday.
The boss began snooping to check if they were together and the sick leave was just a ruse. Rebecca felt so humiliated by this behavior that she immediately sent in her resignation. She soon joined another organization. As the couple got married and started a life together, they both felt that their office romance was creating a hindrance in their professional pursuits.
Now that they work in different offices, they are in a better place. Rebecca and Alex’s experience offers many lessons in how to handle an office romance:
Related Reading: An Office Romance Gone Bad – Tina And Varun’s Story
1. Know where you stand
If it was just a fling that started during the Christmas party, don’t assume that it will materialize into something more. Be sure of it whether there are real feelings at play or it’s just an occasional fling. Be honest with each other and let the other person know where you stand.
When people get wind of it, they would perceive a fling in a certain way and a more serious relationship in another way. So if you know what kind of a relationship you are in, so that you can handle it appropriately.
If it’s just a fling and is creating issues in your professional life, then you can both just back off. If it’s serious then you have to join hands and formulate a plan to handle your office romance.
2. Money before honey
What this means is that don’t let your romantic relationships in the workplace get in the way of your work. This might take some effort but don’t let your feelings get in the way of your work. You have to do your job and do it well. That is the only way to ensure that your office romance doesn’t jeopardize your career.
Never hold yourself back from giving your 100% just because you’re dating a coworker and they might feel slighted if you make bigger strides than them. If your work needs you to reprimand your partner, you cannot go soft on them.
Beyond your office hours, or outside your office, you can indulge in romance no-holds-barred.
Related Reading: In The Dark Pantry Our Office Romance Met A Horrible Fate
3. Company policies matter
Reading up on the workplace relationships policy is one of the most important office affair tips. Before you act on your feelings for that hot coworker and stir up an office romance, check if the company you are working for only frowns on office romance or pronounces it totally illegal.
Many companies are very strict about dating in the workplace. Be certain what the policy is. If what you are doing is against the rules, be smart enough to keep it under wraps. Also, ask yourself if the risk you are taking is worth it.
Some offices have strict policies about not having spouses work in the same organization and they are completely against people in the same department having a romantic relationship. The second bit might be an unwritten rule but if you ask around you will get to know that.
4. Know the hierarchy
I know, I know, love is blind and all that, but if you are going to be dating a coworker, it’s better to do it with someone you do not have to work closely with, day in and day out. That way, even if the romance dies and you break up, there would be no awkwardness between the two of you.
For instance, dating a boss could spell trouble when you break up. He or she could turn vengeful and make your life difficult when the relationship does not work out.
Many people have lost assignments, projects and even promotions because they were dating someone superior to them in the hierarchy, and later, got harassed by the same people when the relationship went kaput.
So if it’s an office romance you are indulging in it’s best to go for a colleague who is at the same level as you or someone from another department who would not have a say in how your career shapes up.
5. Professionalism first
You don’t have to guard your relationship like a national treasure from onlookers but make sure you maintain decorum and a professional attitude at the workplace.
Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to sit beside each other in the conference hall, have meals together always. Making out in the pantry or the hallways is also a big no-go territory. These actions might make your colleagues and coworkers act biased toward you.
They might cite your relationship as the reason why you always agree to your partner’s plans (even if your partner’s plan is the best among the lot). Just be tactical about your workplace romance. There are a lot of things you need to be mindful of.
If you are in a relationship with someone from the same office, be sure to keep the public display of affection at bay (especially in front of the bosses).
Never, ever, have personal outbursts with your partner when you are at work. Also, relationship problems should be left outside the door. Don’t let any personal fight reflect in the way you treat your other coworkers.
Just remember that you are at the workplace to earn money and make a career and not for romance. But if you like someone at the workplace, by all means, date them but don’t let it reflect on your work or the way you conduct yourself. That’s most important.
Most workplace relationships policy do deem dating a coworker unprofessional and even unacceptable. But some companies allow it with appropriate regulations. Read up on your company’s policy to know if it is allowed.
Yes. Especially if you are dating your boss and things go wrong, they have complete freedom to fire you in order to get their revenge.
You need to be professional- keep the PDA out of the workplace, and don’t spend all your lunch and office hours cooped up with your partner. Everybody gets annoyed!