Dating A Coworker
Eyeing that cute guy/girl who sits in the cube next to you? You’re not alone. A recent survey shows that a whopping 56% of employees polled engaged in some type of office romance. Because of the amount of time we spend at work, side by side with our coworkers, our social lives and professional lives often become entwined. Those relationships are sometimes quite intimate, even when they aren’t romantic. That in itself can be problematic, but when those friendships grow into romances, watch out! If you find yourself attracted to a coworker, follow these rules to stay out of trouble.
But dating your coworker isn’t exactly a straightforward situation. Meeting a significant other at work may be great for your social life, but it can be like a train wreck for your career. Common sense tells you to avoid an office romance because it may will be awkward if things don’t work out. Sometimes, however, your good judgment goes awry when chemistry takes over.
So, how do you evaluate the pros and cons of getting involved with your coworker? Let’s head straight to the experts to get their take on the dos and don’ts of dating someone you work with. Here’s an expert guide to dating your coworker without having things get messy — plus a few circumstances where you might want to pass on pursuing that office romance.
Do: Review Your Company's Policy
Don’t even head out on a first date until you think seriously about it. First, find out if your organization has a formal policy that forbids employees dating one another. If it does, put that date on hold until one of you has a different job. You may think you can date secretly, but it is not worth the risk.
Don't: Engage In PDA At Work
Even if your company policy doesn’t explicitly state anything against engaging in romantic relationships at the office, don’t give HR a reason to add a clause when the two of you get caught going at it. “Sure, nabbing a quickie or a make-out in one of your offices is hot, but your boss doesn’t need to see your PDA — and even if you’re sure no one is around, you might get busted by surveillance cameras.”
Do: Talk About The Worst Case Scenario
Although it may not seem very romantic, formulate a set of rules, and an exit plan if things don’t work out. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about it. Breakups are messy, and are doubly messy when you have to see and work with your ex everyday. Before things get too serious lay out a clear plan of action with your potential partner on how you both promise to handle things if it doesn’t work out.
Don't: Date Your Boss
Don’t date your boss. Don’t date your CEO. Don’t date someone much higher up at your company who may at one point have to make direct decisions on things like your salary or employment status. Same goes for the reverse. Making romantic overtures toward a coworker can end in sexual harassment charges for you. Be extremely cautious, especially if the person whom you are interested in is your subordinate. Make it clear that there won’t be any repercussions if they turn you down. Don’t even joke about it, for example, by saying or implying that you won’t take no for an answer.
Do: Ensure Feelings Remain Mutual
Your partner should not feel pressured to stay in the relationship. Sexual harassment suits are unpleasant for everyone involved. Be aware of what constitutes it and don’t do anything that a colleague could take for an unwanted sexual advance.