As the saying goes, love knows no boundaries, so when you’re having to spend seven or eight hours a day with the same group of people, it’s not uncommon to find yourself developing romantic feelings towards a co-worker you get on with particularly well.
Most workplaces won’t have a problem with this as long as you follow the rules, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t complicate other areas of your life.
The workplace experts behind LondonOffices.com have revealed seven tips to ensure office romances are handled correctly.
Workers struck by cupid’s arrow within the confines of the office walls should make sure they’re keeping a lid on PDAs – but they should never go out of their way to completely hide a romantic relationship with a colleague.
By preparing themselves for potential backlash amongst co-workers and refraining from dating superiors or subordinates, workers should be able to balance their personal and professional lives quite easily.
1. Know the rules
If you’ve recently entered into a romantic relationship with one of your colleagues, one of the best places to start is with your company handbook. Inform yourself and your partner about what policies the firm has in place regarding conducting a romantic relationship in the workplace, so that once you know the rules, you can try your best not to break them.
2. Don’t date your superiors
Office politics and hierarchy should be top-of-mind, particularly when it comes to office romances, and by dating your boss – or a subordinate – you’re practically asking for trouble. People will be more inclined to gossip about your business, and this can get messy. Your colleagues might also assume that you’re going to be first in line for things like promotions and raises – which will only sour your relationship with them.
3. Disclose it
If your relationship doesn’t follow the rules of your company’s dating policy, you might be tempted to hide it – but this is strongly advised against. Disclosing your relationship may put you at risk of disciplinary action, but with the relationship out in the open, it’s easier to not let it impact your work performance.
4. Don’t make it obvious
Even if your relationship is out in the open, when you’re within the office walls, you shouldn’t treat your partner like a partner, but simply as your co-worker. Not only should you be considerate of how your colleagues feel about your PDAs, but you also need to show that both your work and treatment of other co-workers won’t waiver. Do everything you can to squash the perception that your boyfriend or girlfriend is receiving special treatment because of your relationship.
5. Prepare yourself
Jealousy can be an unfortunate staple of any regular relationship, but this is particularly the case when it comes to office romances both amongst your colleagues and between you and your partner. What if you both want to go for the same promotion, for example? It’s also worth noting that normally, you’d be able to go home and vent your workplace frustrations to your spouse, but this dynamic will work a bit differently when the troubles are a direct result of your relationship. You should prepare yourself for every consequence.
6. Address issues after-hours
When you’re spending almost every waking minute with your partner, it’s easy to let personal issues spill into the office hours, but you should never, ever fight or argue at work, particularly about frustrations at home. Similarly, when you’ve reached a new level of comfort with someone like your partner, you may find yourself being a being too abrupt or argumentative about a work situation with them than you would be with a regular co-worker. You need to ensure there are boundaries from both sides, and never overstep them.
7. Find an alternative
If you’ve followed all the tips above but still find that your relationship is causing tensions or animosity in your office – or at home – you might want to have a serious conversation with your partner about one of you looking for a new job. Spending every waking moment with someone – even if you’re super compatible or they’re the love of your life – can take its toll, after all.