Dating At The Office: A-OK or Stay Away?
The office romance may be a cliché but for many of us it’s still a reality. So when is dating at the office a good idea and when is it a bad idea? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the workplace romance?
Life can get hectic! A crazy work schedule can leave little time for much else and once you’ve squeezed in the gym, house work and catching up with friends on the weekend, dating can seem like an impossibility.
The rise of online dating apps reflects the reality that many professional women simply don’t have the time or opportunity to meet people the old-fashioned way. When we do, it’s hardly surprising that our workplace tops the list of likely meeting spots. If you’re not into Tinder or Bumble or you’re suffering from dating app exhaustion, the opportunities to meet potential mates are limited to Friday night drinks, EOFY dinner and the office Christmas party.
So, if you’re finding yourself spending a bit more time at the water cooler these days to improve your chances of seeing that special someone, what should you think about before you take the workplace dating plunge?
Workplace romance statistics
“According to a Payscale office romance report, 15% of the 42,000 respondents said they would date someone they work with. And one out of five people who gave romance with a co-worker a shot ended up marrying their colleague”. Business Insider Those odds aren’t bad, eh?
Is dating a coworker a good idea?
Well, it all depends…
While some workplaces have policies about dating co-workers (i.e. don’t screw the crew!), your gut instinct will tell you whether the benefits of your budding workplace romance are going to outweigh the potential complications.
Dating your boss might not only be frowned upon by your employer but is unlikely to win you any friends in the office. It could also limit your career progression within the organisation. The same goes for dating one of your staff.
Dating at the office can also be tricky if you and that special colleague are working closely together. Not only can it make things uncomfortable for other co-workers but if you’re spending every waking (and sleeping) moment together, you might find that your new romance glow starts to wear off pretty quickly.
Workplace romance policies
Business Insider sensibly advises that you “make sure you know your company’s policy, so that you don’t violate any corporate regulations. You especially need to be aware if you’re required to come forward with your relationship. The last thing you want is for a love interest to have a negative impact on your career.” Although, when sense-checking your options remember that your career isn’t the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ – soul mates doesn’t come along everyday.
Dating someone at work – advice when you’re in love
On the flip side, dating a co-worker can be more than just a fling-of-convenience. Vault.com’s 2017 Office Romance Survey found that 10 per cent of people surveyed had met their spouse or partner at work. So that new starter could be your soul mate, or that unexpected meeting or training course might just lead to marriage, babies and happily ever after. And many of us work for big employers these days so you won’t necessarily be working closely together.
10 per cent of people surveyed met their spouse or partner at work.
If you do meet the love of your life in the office you’ll face the same issues as every other couple – finding time for your relationship, succeeding as a power couple, or making nice with the in-laws – but at least you’ll know your commitment to the job has paid off in more ways than one!
Workplace romance problems – managing the break-up
It goes without saying that office romances won’t always work out. If this workplace experiment ends prematurely then you need to be prepared for the awkward moments to follow. Best case scenario there’ll be a few uncomfortable silences with your ex in the lift, sideways looks from your boss, or hushed whispers in the kitchen when you walk in. Worst case scenario one or both of you will need to find a new job…
But if you can keep things civil until you move on, or just stay out of each other’s way for a while, a workplace break up doesn’t have to mean a break up with your job too. And you can always console yourself with a new office wardrobe in the meantime!
How to make dating a coworker work
If you’ve decided it’s worth finding out if Mr Right is sitting in the office down the corridor, here are five ground rules to keep your career intact.
- Take it slow
You might be tempted to throw caution to the wind but take a few deep breaths first. You can’t take back a workplace dalliance so don’t launch into anything you might quickly regret. Weigh up the pros and cons then sleep on it.
- Keep it professional
While you might have found the love of your life, remember you’re at the office to work so keep the PDAs for after five.
According to Love Panky, the number one thing to bear in mind is to keep work at work and home life at home. “Don’t intermingle your work and home life. Don’t go to their office and ask them what they want for dinner or nag them about getting the yard work done this weekend or something silly.”
- Quit while you’re ahead
If the romance is going full steam ahead but it’s starting to impact on your work, have the conversation with your partner about whether one of you needs to move on. You might love your job but if you want your relationship to outlast it, you (or they) can always find another role that suits you (them).
- No serial dating
One workplace romance can be complicated enough, let alone two or three. If at first you don’t succeed there’s always online dating!
- Don’t force it
If it turns out this office romance wasn’t meant to be, don’t wait for it to blow up in your face. Call it early when there’s still a chance your office life will revert to the way it was without causing you too much grief.
Have you ever dated someone at work? Was it destiny or a disaster? Head over to the Iris Lillian Squad and share your story or get involved below.
Dating At The Office
Cover photo: Collagevintage.com