Ever find yourself hovering around the water cooler drinking cup after cup of water in case the cute guy from finance walks by? How many trips to the supply room can you take before that hot guy notices you passing by? Although office romance isn’t new, statistics show that more and more people today are mixing business with pleasure. Given the long hours that people work, opportunities to meet singles outside the workplace are shrinking. In fact, today’s workplace may be to dating what the singles’ bar was in the 70s (minus the disco ball and bell bottoms). Even so, if you decide to date a coworker, there are some things to consider before taking a plunge into the office pool.
Companies are far more tolerant of workplace dating than in the past. A study by Vault.com, a workplace and career center, found that 87% of employers have no problem with employee dating as long as work doesn’t suffer. Inconspicuously find out if your company has an intra-office dating policy (this doesn’t mean an Alias-style break-in to the HR offices). Generally, it’s best to steer clear of romantic relationships with supervisors or underlings, as there may be legal implications both for you and the company if the relationship ends badly.
If coworkers sniff out your relationship, you could end up living in a fishbowl where every move with each other is scrutinized. Do yourself a favor and keep it under the radar. “I’m dating a more senior person in my company,” says Susan, a 30-year-old Seattle-based consultant. “If I spend the night at his house, he drives me 45 minutes across town for a change of clothes so that no one gets suspicious at work the next day.” Set ground rules about office interactions (no passing love notes in meetings, or harmonizing “Endless Love” together in the lunchroom), and leave your personal life at the elevator.
Perception is Reality
If you aren’t discreet, be ready to deal with the negative perceptions your relationship may create. A junior-senior relationship may cause coworkers to perceive favoritism, even where there is none. If you get or give any sort of advancement, there will be whispers. Even stopping into one another’s offices or meeting accidentally in the copy room can cause some behind-the-back sniping.
Job Performance and Advancement
Being in love can be distracting, so imagine that feeling when the person is sitting in the next cubicle or down the hallway. If you’re working on the same projects together, this can be magnified even more. Your company will have little tolerance if your job performance suffers as a result. This type of behavior may also be remembered when the company is handing out promotions or downsizing.
Can You Handle the Breakup?
If the relationship ends, how will you feel seeing that person throughout the day in the hallway, lunchroom and at the water cooler? Also consider that right now you only see their very best side (well-dressed, well-spoken, well-mannered) as they try to act professionally and impress coworkers. Once the breakup strips away this veneer, you may find a different sort of person underneath, and you’ll have to live with that reality every day.
This content was provided by Lavalife.