Dating someone at work has its advantages if you can make it work. Which other couple can boast of waking up, heading to work, grabbing lunch, and head home together on a daily basis? However, unfortunately only 1 out of 5 people who gave romance with a work colleague a shot end up marrying them resulting in 10% of surveyed people who had initially met their spouses or partners at work. Since the success rate of dating at work is low and risky, we've put together some tips for you to know what you might be getting into and increase your chances at love with your work mate.
Do familiarize yourself with your company policies
While most companies do not have written laws against pursuing romantic relationships with colleagues, it is important to know what your company believes in lest you're caught red-handed and are later fired. Familiarize yourself with past cases of work dating in your company, to talk to them to know what they might have gone through before agreeing to get into it yourself. Relationships aren't easy by themselves and dating someone at work comes with just a few more twists and turns.
Be prepared to prioritize relationship over work or vice versa if need be
One drawback of indulging in a workplace romance is always being mentally prepared to make a choice between the two. Try to have the "talk" regarding this sore topic and discuss your priorities openly. If your relationship grows from a fling to a serious one and requires you to choose it over work, be prepared to do so. However, if you are working your dream job—one you'd want to give up for no one—think twice before saying yes to your project-mate.
Do remember your life outside of work
It's easy to spend all 24 hours with your partner if you work with them. Remind yourself that work is just one component of your life and so is your relationship. Try not to make excuses for the occasional girls night out and maybe even plan weekend trips with your family. Make sure you don't take your hobbies, self-time, friends, colleagues, and family for granted. Remember distance makes your heart grow fonder!
Do dress professionally
Do remember to wear clothes that your work environment requires. A sudden change in work attire will arouse suspicion making you uncomfortable while at work. Remind yourself that you're there to work and not to make your partner oggle at you through your cubicle glass. Stitching your skirt an inch shorter or leaving your blouse shirt half unbuttoned will attract undesired attention by not only your partner but everyone in the office including your boss.
Do be attentive while sending emails
Imagine the horror of hitting "send all" to a mushy "miss you" email. Save those mushy words for text or your private email. Better still resort to throwing chits, if your partner happens to be your work neighbor. (You get extra credit for handwritten personalization as well). Company emails can get checked and you don't want your colleagues to know how much you enjoyed your last night's dinner date.
Don't date your boss
This is probably the biggest NO-NO. Instead of risking both your positions, offer to quit or ask your boss to quit—if you must date them. There aren't many ways around this. Don't get into the hassle of dealing with work-related inferiority complex seeping into your relationship. As if relationships aren't complicated enough by themselves.
Don't get caught making out at work
Everybody knows you dress your best to work and your partner might look extremely irresistible typing away two cubicles away. Either find a hidden squeeze hole in your building or save it post-work hours. As tempting as it sounds, avoid the closet if it's one that is used every two hours to bring out office supplies. Know that if you do get caught, coming to work the next day with a straight face will be harder than you think (if not impossible).
Don't let the ups and downs of your at-work-relationship occur during business hours
Work isn't just about submitting your projects in time, it is about building connections and networks, lending a helping hand and coming up with effective solutions in a team. And every relationship comes with mood swings and ups and downs, and bringing them with you to work can affect your performance costing you your job in many cases. Maybe give meditation a hand to create a sense of understanding and peace within yourself and start your day with a clean slate. It would be ideal if you'll attempt at settling matters before work if you find yourself being unable to compartmentalize your life.
Don't announce your relationship online
It isn't easy to keep things private in today's highly social media intensive day and age and announcing your relationship online is like digging yourself a grave. It makes it harder for people to treat you and your partner professionally if you are working together in a team or project. Furthermore gone are the days of trust, what if that jealous colleague who "loved" your status tells your boss who won't be happy about it at all. Also isn't breaking up hard enough to not want people at work also questioning you and reminding you of your relationship.
Don't flirt during corporate functions
They say "whatever you do offsite will always be remembered onsite" and they don't just say it for the heck of it. Treat corporate events like any other workday. This probably isn't the best time to flirt and nor is it the time to stick to one another like BFFs. Mingle with a larger group and don't make the others feel awkward around you by engaging in pertaining conversations and not personal inside jokes. Keep your distance and put on a professional air - for the sake of the evening knowing that you can be reunited post work.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket
Don't risk your work, life outside work, friends, and family for your work-romance. It's easy to do the same if you find yourself neglecting the other factors in your life and spending all day with your new-found love. If you see them at work and catch up every hour or so, try to catch up with a friend over lunch. Instead of staying in with your partner after work—join a yoga/aerobic/Zumba/fitness class. Wake up early before work to spend some alone time pursuing your hobby. Make sure you allow the flourishing of other components in your life so that you can fall back on them in the unfortunate case of a breakup.
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