We spend most of our time working. It's only natural for romance to bloom in the office. A CareerBuilder.com survey estimates that 38% of workers have dated a colleague, at Vault.com that number rises to 56%. Love is clearly in the air.
Before, college was the place to go to meet your soul-mate, but people are getting married later in life, workplaces look more like home, and the separation between public and private is increasingly blurred.
Smart organizations establish a clear policy on Office Romance. Such policies should clarify the ramifications of getting involved with a superior or direct report, as well as deal with issues ranging from sexual harassment to relocation. Entrepreneur.com has put together a helpful guide to creating such a policy. You can even consult the personal relationship policy of many big corporations in their online manuals.
So, don't be afraid to get close to the colleague you've been flirting with, just be clear on your expectations and on what will happen the day after when you arrive together or bump into each other by the coffee machine.
5 Tips to Making Office Romance Work.
- Honey isn't his real name. Before becoming your partner, she or he was your colleague first. Remember that. It's important to establish boundaries. Don't be offended if he doesn't look at you the same way in a meeting. At work you're working, not on a date. Keep things straight.
- Smooching by the printer isn't sexy (to your colleagues or the cleaning lady). Bear in mind that your newfound affection may illicit jealousy or even discomfort among those around you. Try to resist those lingering looks or stealing kisses in the hallway.
- Talk shop at work, not in bed. Keep things separate. It can get boring and suffocating if all your relationship centers around work. Set a limit to the time spent discussing work at home and vice versa.
- "Secret relationships" rarely stay on the DL. If you haven't read the manual in a while, now might be a good time to review your company policy on inter-office relationships. While you should always be discrete, it's important that someone from HR be aware of the situation. Remember, HR is also there to help you. Besides, for as "normal" as you try to act, people will most likely notice that special twinkle in your eye.
- Get your résumé ready! It's not usually a good idea to be involved with someone in the same department, and certainly not with your boss or assistant, as this can result in quite an uncomfortable situation for both. If it gets serious (or goes sour), you may eventually consider changing organizations.
Now, go do something special outside the office with your cube-mate turned play-mate.
Happy Valentine's Day!