Office Romance: 5 Tips to Make it Work

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office romanceAccording to a CareerBuilder survey, approximately 40 percent of workers say they have dated someone they worked with in their career; 18 percent report dating co-workers at least twice in their career; and 30 percent report they went on to marry a person they dated in the office. As a rising number of professionals report spending more waking at the office than they do at home, it’s no surprise that sparks can start to fly between nine and five!

A new office romance is thrilling. Chances are you’ve never been so happy to get up and go to work on Monday morning. At the same time, you must tread lightly. Proceed with caution and keep these tips in mind when navigating an overlapping love and work life.

1. Be discreet.

Avoid sending emails or texts from work technology that includes romantic content. The last thing you want is a record of your romance, and these types of communications may cost you your job.

2. Resist the urge to post about your new relationship online.

Rumors and gossip spread faster than wildfire in an office setting. Even if you didn’t tell Betty in mergers that you’re seeing Jim in accounting, once you post something online it’s in the public arena. Over the years, indiscreet online activity has gotten many workers in hot water.

3. Spare co-workers from public displays of affection.

It’s one thing to arrange an FTD flower delivery on a special occasion or as a get well gesture. However, the line is quickly crossed when co-workers are subjected to witnessing kissing, cuddling and pet names. “It’s called an office romance because you met at the office, but you shouldn’t actually conduct your romance at the office,” advises Stephanie Losee, author of “Office Mate: Your Employee Handbook for Finding—and Managing—Romance on the Job.”

4. Weigh the consequences.

Before you get involved in an office romance, think about the consequences if the romance doesn’t work out. Will a nasty break-up affect your concentration at work? Life can become uncomfortable, if not downright excruciating, if you’re forced to see the man or women who broke your heart. If you do choose to pursue a relationship, make sure you acknowledge the risk of putting your career on the line. The time may come when you must choose between your relationship and your job, so be mindful of your priorities.

5. Familiarize yourself with your office’s dating policy.

Browse your company handbook or double-check with HR before you embark on an office romance. Some office policies strictly prohibit an office romance, while others provide guidelines such as restricting physical contact while on the premises, or prohibiting relationships between a supervisor and employee.

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