Oct 16, 2008

Office Romance? - Here are few steps to take care.

These days, it seems happy hour takes place between 9 and 5. Many singles spend more waking time at work than at home, so the likelihood of office attraction is high. You know what I'm talking about conveniently making copies at the same time, emailing back and forth, and playing eye-tag all day long. 

Welcome to the sometimes wonderful, often awful, world of dating in the workplace. Whether you have a crush on a higher-up or an inkling for a intern, mixing business and pleasure is almost never a good idea. But, let's face it, sometimes inner office hi jinks can be irresistible so here's how to make sure you make it through a workplace rendezvous unscathed.

If you're imagining the boardroom as a bedroom, take a second to notice the red flags and I don't mean on your minesweeper game. While pining away at your desk, I have some helpful ways to crush with caution on the clock!

    * Hold your horses! Before scooping up your co-worker and riding into the sunset, you'd better make sure the coast is clear. Familiarize yourself with the HR policy.ot all companies have the same stance on inner-office romance. Some companies allow it, others discourage it, and a few even have written policies that ban it. This way, you can preview the consequences if any and avoid that little pink slip.

    * If romance is in the air, someone is bound to smell it...  Hiding your relationship at work might be kind of fun  -- even playfully scandalous! but take a moment to question the real reason behind the secrecy. Inform human resources and your employer, and casually let your coworkers know the scoop. Of course, torrid details are not necessary, but make sure that you aren't letting deception ruin your otherwise impeccable reputation. If you're not comfortable going public, consider whether or not you should be involved in the first place.

    * Between a desk and a hard place... Sneaking kisses by the snack machine seems harmless enough, but I doubt people will have much of an appetite when they catch you there. Be considerate of your co-workers by saving affection for the sidewalk. A personal attraction can dent your professionalism, and also pose a distraction for those around you. Keep interactions clean until the suit comes off and I mean that literally.Avoid naughty email exchanges. Save the romantic words for your sweetie until the bell has rung. Emailing via the company computer is a recipe for disaster, especially if that email recounts personal exchanges that would be humiliating if made public.

    * You can't always be a "yes" man... Be especially careful if you are a superior crushing on a subordinate. Things can get tricky, because your employee may feel too pressured not to say "no" and then a "yes" just doesn't seem genuine! Plus, both your reputations are suddenly at stake. Before taking the risk, you'd better have another job interview lined up just in case things work out well!

If dating doesn't work, coming into work will definitely be stressful and emotionally trying for some time. However, you can keep the office as tension-free as possible if you both agree not to gossip about the relationship with other coworkers. Take the high road and try to maintain a respectful and professional demeanor, especially in front of others.keep in mind that you're still in a professional relationship.


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