A decade later, in a post- MeToo worldintra-office relationships seem like trickier territory than ever. That issues of sexual harassment are moving closer and closer toward zero tolerance rather than a pretty normalized event to simply endure is a great thing—please don't get me wrong—but for the appropriate, happy, consensual, unions, the inner-office spotlight can feel negative and taboo. So what, exactly, are the modern guidelines to follow for dating a coworker? Should your office crush remain just that until one of you leaves the company, or can you responsibly engage in a workplace romance without it blowing your career?
Subscriber active since. Tyler and I had been dating for almost four years before we started working together which, by the way, wasn't planned … long story for another time. But for about 11 months, we sat three cubes apart from one another and kept our relationship under wraps. Those are questions we're frequently asked when we tell people the story of our office romance. The truth is, office romances can be very tricky and generally not recommended.
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But they happen all the time, and when they do, there are three possible outcomes: The relationship turns sour and your reputation and career take a beating; it ends, but you're both mature and cordial and don't let the breakup affect your work; or things work out.
Remember that coworker I dated? We're approaching our fourth wedding anniversary. It's up to you to figure out whether pursuing an office relationship is worth the possible consequences, good and bad. If you decide it isthere are a few "rules" you'll want to follow to ensure things don't go awry:. Take it slow.
Are office romances worth the risk?
My situation was unique because we were already a couple before we started working together — but generally that isn't the case, and Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of " Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job ," suggests you try being friends inside and outside the office before you make any moves.
People sometimes act differently at work than they do in their personal life. Before you risk hurting your reputation at work, find out if this person is someone you'd want to spend weekends with. Check the company handbook to find out if there are any policies related to interoffice relationships. Even if there are no explicit policies against it, find out how upper management feels about office romances. If they're common and happen in your workplace all the time, great.
If not, maybe that's something to consider. If you're thinking about pursuing an office romance, consider your rank or position, as well as theirs.
Dating your boss or your direct report can be particularly dangerous for a variety of reasons. Keep things quiet early on. No need to send a blast with "the news" of you and your cube-mate's new relationship. People either don't care, will think it's obnoxious or inappropriate, or will get jealous. Once you have a sense that this might have a future, talk to your partner and decide how and when you want to disclose your relationships to your colleagues.
If the rumor mill goes into high gear, that might be the right time. If nobody seems to notice, there's no reason to share. Get on the same .
Don't: date someone below or above you on the hierarchy
You and your new partner need to agree on some ground rules and come up with a plan for how you will keep it professional and stay within written or unwritten rules. Be professional at all times. Be sensitive and respectful to others. Talking about the relationship can be distracting or make colleagues feel uncomfortable, so don't do it. Keep love quarrels out of the work fray.
Also, it's entirely unprofessional to complain about your personal relationships at work, whether you're dating a colleague or not. Don't let disagreements affect your work. What happens at home or in your personal life no matter who you're dating almost always affects your attitude, which affects your work — it's just a fact of life.
But try your hardest not to let your disagreements with your partner affect the decisions you make or how your treat others at work. The same way you shouldn't let disagreements with your partner affect the decisions you make or how you treat others at work — you can't let your adoration for them drive your decisions, either.
How to approach an office romance (and how not to)
It's unfair and unethical to give your ificant other's work more attention and to make decisions that ultimately benefit them. So while it may be tempting, stop yourself before you get yourself into trouble. Remain focused on your work.
Don't get caught up in long conversations, two-hour lunches, IMing, or ing with your partner when you should be working on projects or preparing for meetings. One complaint to HR for PDA, showing preferential treatment, or using words of endearment in public will at the very least trigger an investigation. Go easy on flirtatious texts and s. Since you're in the same office, you know all the same people and may even be working on similar projects — so it's easy to go home and talk about those people or those projects.
Y ou'll be tempted to chat about the latest office gossip over dinner — but don't. If you do, your whole life will be about work Come up with some rules together. For instance, maybe you decide that it's okay to discuss work on your car ride home, but as soon as you get there, it's off-limits. Consider what you'd want to do if things do work out. As a relationship becomes more serious, oftentimes one person will decide to leave the employer completely, because the more involved you are, the greater the likelihood of the relationship interfering with your job.
This is something to think about early on and to keep in mind as you move forward in the relationship. Just know the risks. Your decision not only affects you, but the other person, both of your careers, and those around you.
The psychological reasons why you fall in love with your colleagues. A quarter of people would consider quitting their job if their 'work spouse' left the company.
World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Get the Insider App. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. Free subscriber-exclusive audiobook! Redeem your free audiobook. US Markets Loading H M S In the news. Jacquelyn Smith. I once dated a coworker, and though it worked out for us, office romances can be a very tricky thing to navigate.
Working with your ificant other can have a serious impact on your career and your relationship! We talked to experts to compile all the rules for dating a coworker. Visit Business Insider's home for more stories.
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