Now all the works Christmas parties are over some people will be faced with the dilemma of dating a work colleague.
In large workplaces ‘office romances’ are inevitable but being mature and setting ground rules from the start can save a lot of problems in the future.
It has never been a good idea to date a work colleague, to the point where many companies these days have included something about it in their company policy.
It causes particular problems when one person is superior to the other in authority. Read my experience of dating a work colleague, the companies reaction and how it affected my career.
Even where favouritism is not an issue, if your relationship is known then accusations will usually lead in that direction.
However, love finds us where it can and sometimes we have to make life choices that are not just about our career.
It’s easy to think you can keep the romance until after hours but unless strict ground rules are in place and adhered to then little glances will soon become naughty little emails and giggling behind the water cooler.
After a fight in your relationship there is nothing more obvious and uncomfortable for others than hostility between you at work.
Unfortunately there is a side to office romance that is anything but romantic, you need to sit together and discuss a game plan at the start of the relationship. Remember when you have this discussion you are not only making choices about your love life but about your career too.
Some rules to consider:
1. Establish before you return to work whether you are now in a relationship or whether it was a holiday fling.
2. If it is a relationship then decide whether you are going to let it be generally known in the office or workplace. Should you discuss your relationship with Human Resources or your boss (this will depend on the company and the job posts you both hold).
3. If not then discuss how you should answer any questions should anyone get curious or suspicious and how to handle things if your secret becomes known.
4. If you do choose to make your relationship public knowledge then Keep it Professional. Don’t use your company computers to send love emails to each other, don’t sit in meetings holding hands under the table or meet in the stationary cupboard for a quick snog.
5. Consider other people’s feelings, you may be madly in love and can’t keep your hands off each other but other people are just going about their work and don’t need to be distracted.
6. What will happen if you break up? Nobody gets into a relationship anticipating a break up but they do happen so how will you handle things if your relationship doesn’t work out? Do you work in different departments and can therefore avoid each other or is your secretary suddenly going to start slamming files down on your desk and rushing out in tears?