Is there anything wrong with starting a workplace romance? That’s a question only you can answer. Love knows no boundaries, even in the office, but this can sometimes be a problem.
Romantic entanglements do come with a lot of perks and it’s easy to get swept away, but it’ll definitely do both parties a world of good to consider a few essential guidelines for a longer-lasting and mutually beneficial partnership.
Understand company policy
Every workplace has both official and unofficial rules concerning office relationships. Don’t be surprised if your company is against romantic staff relations. There are many employers who prefer to take a more cautious stance on this, as a failed relationship could potentially cause a massive domino effect.
If your relationship is actually forbidden by company policy, ask yourself honestly if it’s worth the risk. If there aren’t clearly stated guidelines concerning romance in the workplace, it’s up to you to evaluate the company’s culture to determine if the outlook is promising.
Weigh potential career risks
As mentioned earlier, there will be obvious personal benefits to a romantic relationship, but is it worth risking your career? Only you and your partner (prospective or current) will be able to reach an agreement. If your job isn’t as important as securing a love interest, you’ll have to seriously consider the possible consequences.
I’m not saying to think without emotion, but there are certain stigmas in society that will question your work ethics and your ability to handle matters professionally. You should settle this first.
Set clear boundaries
If you choose to proceed with an office romance, keep things professional during working hours, and during other office-related social events. After all, the workplace is usually a formal setting that focuses on the production of company-related materials, not lovey-dovey couples.
Maintaining a romantic office relationship might be harder in certain situations, but this should not adversely affect the quality and efficiency of your work. Should a supervisor or employer sense that your work is not up to snuff, you might be forced to choose between ending the relationship or looking for another job.
Don’t be blinded by love
This can be especially true for in-love colleagues working closely together. One of the most common “side effects” of being in a romantic relationship is a certain amount of blind spots. The nature of these blind spots differs from one couple to another. Just be aware of them.
Positive critique is highly encouraged in the workplace and is mutually beneficial for both the giver and recipient. If being in a love relationship with a colleague produces a hesitant tongue or an overly-protective stance, you’ll have to take a step back to see things from the perspective of an onlooker.
Avoid the notion of impropriety
The reason (usually unspoken) for advising against dating someone in a higher or lower position than yourself is usually related to office politics and hierarchical implications. It might not strike you as important, but office relationships that disregard hierarchy are usually under a lot of scrutiny.
If you’re currently vying for a better position or salary, you would definitely want to consider if a romantic relationship with a senior or junior could complicate the end result. This is especially relevant for colleagues working in the same department, or working closely together on a project.
There is no certainty that things will turn out bad for you and your partner should you continue the relationship. Both parties should understand the significance of their choices and take steps to ensure that things are always handled professionally.
PDA and work do not mix
You might feel on top of the world in your relationship, but that really doesn’t justify romantic overtures in the workplace. Don’t try to rationalize your way towards dark rooms and late hours that can lead to misunderstandings and self-justification if someone catches you in the act.
This might not be an easy road for those with conflicting schedules and late night shifts, but at the end of the day, you’ll have to accept that the office isn’t the place for public displays of affection. In the long run, a decision will have to be made as to whether the romantic relationship requires one side to make a job change to make things work.
Avoid becoming a topic for gossip. Your chances for career advancement could be negatively impacted and worse of all, you might not recover from it.
Have an agreed exit strategy
There’s nothing wrong with being pragmatic at the start of the relationship. There should be a mutual understanding of how you will both handle a potential breakup.
It goes without saying that breakups can be entirely amicable and also entirely disastrous. You and your partner might feel the brunt of the split, but there will always be the possibility of a spillover that involves the entire office. Nobody wants to be caught in an ex-lover’s crossfire when coworkers are just trying to get their jobs done.
Dating policies are usually set in place in a generalized manner, but some companies have more stringent rules. It’s very possible that those strict guidelines came about due to past experiences. It’s best not to underestimate how two exes can turn a company upside-down.
Leaving the company
Should your company or workplace frown upon internal dating, you and your partner will have to face the facts. If both of you agree to take this relationship further, one of you might have to leave. Of course there are many other factors to consider, like finances, job security, convenience and so on, and these must definitely be taken into serious account before making any decisions.
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