Love can be complicated. But mixing love and work is even more so, because it involves your co-workers, your boss and your career. Plus, this involvement exposes the prevalence of abuse of power and sexual misconduct in the workplace. This has made both workers and employers more careful about romance at work.
Actually, the fact is when it comes to love at work, most dating gurus are clear about what they recommend: Don't do it. But, of course, people ignore relationship advice all the time.
Workplace is still among the top five places where people meet their lovers, although it has been overshadowed by online dating and meeting at bars and restaurants. Sis, if you have your eye on a colleague, at least have a plan for how you're going to navigate that before you even dip your toe in precarious waters.
Quickly, check whether your company’s policies regulate (and how) dating at the workplace. Simply head to the Human Resources (HR) Department and ask questions. There’s no need to be shy, lover-boy. Asking will not get you in trouble. But dating in circumstances when you shouldn’t might cost you and your boo your jobs. Second, if your company does allow office romance, there is at least one EXTREMELY DANGEROUS instance you SHOULD NEVER DATE your co-worker. This is when your co-worker has control over your career. Please, just don’t do it. Abeg. Biko. Imagine you find another handsome young man at a bar or you fall in love with your plumber and your boss whom you are dating finds out. What do you think is going to happen to your job? If you do not lose it ‘mysteriously’, you might never get a promotion. He’s gonna go into revenge mode. You’re toast.
So, whatever fantasy you might be harboring in your head, it's crucial to be mindful of the potential damage to your job, your employer, your co-workers and your love interest if you pursue that fantasy. These days, people spend the bulk of their time at work, which makes the temptation to start an office romance strong. After all, these are the people you see every day. You have a lot in common with them. When you spend this much time with someone, you get to know them on an intimate, day-to-day level. You get a feel for their intelligence, personality and ethic and this can create a type of chemistry that could lead to something more.
There are groups like law enforcement and the investigative agencies that have had great success actually encouraging relationships because the demands and pressures being put on them are often unique to their professions. Being in a relationship where someone knows those demands and how that can likely impact time and availability is vital for any kind of relationship growth. People inherently understand and are attracted to others who “understand” that part of their life.
Another draw of getting involved with a co-worker is the excitement of dating somebody you’ve already gotten to know. There are a lot of eccentric people (both men and women) out there in the world; dating and falling for someone you work is safe to some extent than trying to meet someone in new places. And once the romance starts, it can be very exciting “pretending” to your colleagues that you’re not dating. Practically speaking, two people in an office romance can also be a force for good; sharing notes/ideas and collaborating well together.”
There are also a lot of disadvantages to dating a coworker. If it doesn’t work out, you still have to see your ex and work with him or her every day. This is especially hard on the person who didn’t want the relationship to end and this type of situation can lead to poor performance, increased absenteeism, workplace drama and a possible hostile work environment.
There’s more. Workplace romance rarely, if ever, stays between two people. Soon the rumor mill gets started and it’s everybody’s business and then your love life is the subject of gossip around the office and all eyes are on you and the person you’re dating. Relationships need time to grow between two people before being brought out into the open.
If work and romance mix, it can put a serious hamper on job performance. You may find yourself taking longer lunches together or finding ways to sneak off to be alone. This could lead to jealousy among co-workers who may view this behavior as “slacking off”. Some office romances go beyond the excitement of a mere fling; they’re the real thing. If you and the person you’re dating believe this is something lasting, it’s best to disclose the relationship with a supervisor or management above both your positions for a fair analysis of the situation.
Timothy A. Dimoff, explains how some companies are taking office romance policies a step further. Many companies today are creating “Love Contracts” for people that are dating each other from the same company. The purpose of these contracts is to clearly outline specific rules and acknowledgements by both parties in the relationship. This protects the company and defines the responsibilities and behavioral principles of the parties.
When it comes to workplace romance, it’s best to think about the pros and cons first. You might find the sugar in your tea or lose the best job you’ve ever had. At the very least, an office tryst will change the dynamic of your working environment. It could lead to diminished job performance, gossip and possible legal issues. Be sure to think it through before jumping right in. That way, you’ll at least be able to keep your head above water!
Yours in love,