Many a workplace actively tries to discourage it but in reality they know it’s just the result of proximity and human nature. Somewhere in your work history you are going to meet someone (if you haven’t already) that you want to date.
Working an office job is normally going to bring you into contact with people of the opposite sex. It’s also the place where people have a ringside seat to see what makes you tick. Gaging how you react when you have to get the job done can decide if they want to get to know you a little more and vice versa.
Countless marriage and dating relationships have come of age in the cafeteria or at a board meeting. According to a CNN poll forty percent of the working population has had at least one office romance. To give you sense of how times have changed sixty six percent also felt there was no need to hide the relationship.
No question the workplace in general has become more favorable to the prospects of office dating but that’s probably more reason why you have to be extra careful.
In his article The Ugly Side Of Office Relationships Francis K. Githinji wrote, “A growing relationship or affair in the office is a mine field literally speaking.” If you are thinking about dating someone in the office then there are a couple of things you should definitely consider.
1. Office Policy
Be very clear on what the guidelines are before dating a co worker. Some companies frown upon it while others don’t really care much as long as both parties remain professional in the work place. If it’s not spelled out to your understanding in the employee handbook then ask human resources. If you feel awkward doing this then you can always ask a co worker who has been there for awhile but this is dicey. While they may have a good knowledge of company policy, you can’t use them as an authority if something goes wrong. Checking with human resources no matter how uncomfortable is better safe than sorry.
2. Your Productivity
Dating someone in the workplace is bound to happen for many of us but the truth is first and foremost we work so we can get paid. It requires a certain amount of efficiency and professionalism to make sure the checks keep coming. Office romances have been known to distract people from the actual job they were hired for. Even if things are going great you can easily find yourself counting the hours until the two of you meet after work instead of counting the numbers your supervisor put on your desk this morning. Having your mind somewhere else one too many times can land you in the unemployment office.
3. Who Are You Dating?
The other person is great and wonderful but can they handle seeing you for eight hours a day and being in a relationship? None of us knows until it happens but see if there are any warning signs. Do they get overly emotional or too aggressive in different situations? Maybe there’s a certain coldness about them you did not notice before or anger. Either way check it out. It could turn out to be that’s their work persona and they know how to handle their business; personal or otherwise. But there’s always the possibility that the other person is a storm ready to explode into a mess for you and the company.
As sure as being attracted to someone in the office is human nature so is gossip. People want to know what’s going on in other people’s lives. The more personal the better which would explain the celebrity divorce drumbeat. In an office environment co workers are going to talk about you and your dating partner. Both of you may promise vows of secrecy but gossip has a funny way of getting around. Someone sees you and your dating partner standing by the elevator or talking to each other in a really friendly way (in their eyes) and it’s off to the races. If you can live with that fine but just understand it’s going to happen.
There’s nothing wrong with meeting someone in the office that you would like to get to know better however you still must be careful. Your objective may be to take every precaution while maintaining your professionalism and integrity, but things have a way of spinning out if control. What started out with the best of intentions could end with you looking for another dating partner and a new job.