February is the month of love and all things romance. With Valentine’s Day in the middle of this month, we thought we would dedicate this week’s blog post to the subject of office romance. We may know people and have heard stories about workplace romances. But is it really a good idea, and does it usually work out in the end? According to a study, 22% of US married couples met through work. So despite what HR says or the fact that office romances are frowned upon. There are a lot of people who have met their partners through work. Some people disagree strongly with mixing business and pleasure, but it seems a great fit for others. The question is, should we all stay well away? Is blurring the lines with your colleague really worth it? Let’s look at the dos and don’ts of romantic workplace relationships and get into the Valentine’s spirit.
Do: Be Confident and Open
Yes, people will talk, and yes, people might gossip and spread rumours. But if you find yourself in a situation where you are dating someone in the office, own it! Let’s be honest; life is too short to worry about the opinion of others. The key is to be confident in yourself and your relationship if you are keen for it to progress. As long as your employer or manager is happy with your honesty and getting the job done, go for it.
Do: Have the Best Intentions
It’s so easy to get caught up in your surroundings and forget that other people can be affected by what you do. Having the best intentions with your significant other is essential because it helps you stay respectful and not cross any professional boundaries. It may be a great idea to approach your partner about their intentions to avoid any complications.
Do: Read the Employee Handbook
Despite employers not being able to forbid a professional romance, it is helpful to check out company policies surrounding relationships. If you are in the early stages, then having a sneak peek at the handbook may help you in the long run. This way, you can cover your back, make appropriate decisions, and stick to the specific rules that apply to your office.
Do: Keep It Professional
This one should be obvious, right? If not, here are a few things to avoid
- Holding hands walking down the work corridor
- Any form of personal display of affection (PDA). This may put people off their lunch.
- Speaking loudly about last night’s argument to your office best friend
- Secret rendezvous by the coffee machine
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Reflection: Friendships vs Love Interests
No, but seriously, if you can maintain a genuine connection with your partner and keep it professional – great!
We all know how long the 9-5 hours can be. It is only natural that we want to rely on uplifting and positive people these days. Sometimes this is in the form of a friendship that can progress into a love interest. We spend so much time in a corporate environment that we inevitably build good connections. People are very quick to judge romantic relationships at work but tend to overlook the similarity and comfort we also seek within our work friendships.
For Goodness Sake, Please Don’t!
Don’t: Set It Up to Be a Bad Breakup
The difference between having a professional or a non-professional love interest is weighing up the risks so soon into the relationship. Usually, we wouldn’t have to think about what happens if it ‘doesn’t work out, but here we do. Taking it slow and really getting to know someone is the best option. The last thing anyone wants is to face an ex at their 9-5 or consider changing departments after a messy breakup. Just imagine the awkwardness.
Don’t: Become the Office Rumour
Unfortunately, rumours are annoyingly unavoidable when it comes to any piece of hot gossip. Being the talk of the office for the wrong reasons is not a good look. Rumours can put massive pressure on a relationship, and this is where things become complicated. No one wants to walk into work on a Monday morning to whispers and opinions. Is that special someone really worth the invasion of privacy?
Don’t: Give Your Partner Preferential Treatment
If possible, aim to steer away from finding a partner who is in your chain of command. Preferential treatment is not a great accusation to have and could potentially cause friction within your team. Are you making a decision to benefit your lover? Are you favouring your partner? Or is it to benefit the company and morale? Having a conflict of interest could be troubling for you, your partner and the rest of the workforce.
Don’t: Mess Up Your Professional Reputation
There are two things to consider here, a professional reputation and a personal one. We all want to keep our professional reputation as pristine as possible. A romantic relationship could be just the thing to jeopardise this. Mixing business with pleasure is not illegal but not appropriate for many workforces. Avoiding situations that are threatening to your career is wise for those looking to progress and want to be taken seriously by employers. Your personal persona is also vital to being a successful asset to the company and your team. It is your individual qualities that got you to where you are and also help you connect to others. So, be careful of how you act in the company of others. Having a romance is quite different to having a one-off fling after a work event. Remember, not everything works out, and that is ok. However, it is vital, for your own sake, that you keep it classy and, most importantly, respectful.
Do’s and don’ts are all well and good, but sometimes the heart wants what it wants. Valentine’s Day is all about embracing those important to us regardless of how we met and where. Workplace relationships can really change people’s lives for the better, whether it is a friendship or more. We should be able to date who we want, be happy and enjoy ourselves (all whilst doing a great job, of course).
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The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt fail me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could possibly fix if you werent too busy searching for attention.