Years ago, the office romance was frowned upon. The received wisdom was ‘Don’t dip your pen in the company ink’.
But in today’s day and age, when we spend a major portion of our waking hours in our workplaces, an office romance has become as common to any office as computer crashes, bad coffee or unpaid overtime. It is now one of the very few places to find a potential partner.
So what does one do when Cupid’s pesky arrow strikes you on the job? Here are a few rules that might help keep your love life and career on track.
• Most company’s today have no restriction policy when it comes to budding office romances, but there are some which have strict rules against developing relationships amongst co-workers; and these are the ones that also reserve the right to fire you.
So, before you throw caution to the wind, take care to check up on what your company’s stand is on office romances. If it is against the rules, ask yourself whether it’s worth it.
• It’s wise to have a proper discussion in the beginning of your relationship. Make a pact to keep the affair under wraps until you are very sure about it. Flaunting your romance near the copy machine is not a very smart career move.
• Once you step inside the office, be professional. Don’t let your romantic relationship affect the quality of your work.
• Absolutely no PDA (Public Display of Affection). However irresistible your partner may be looking, keep your hands off. Save your romance for out of office.
• We all have heard this countless times – “Don’t wash dirty linen in public”. Well, now is the time to practice it. Address any issues that you are having after-hours, don’t bring them to work.
• Avoid getting into a boss-subordinate relationship. If you are in one, prepare yourselves to deal with increased HR scrutiny, jealous co-workers, office rumors, suspicion of favoritism, potential career damage and threat of sexual harassment lawsuit.
• As a rule, refrain from using the company’s email account to send romantic or explicit to your partner. In most companies your email can be read by anyone in the IT department once you hit send.
• If and when the relationship goes kaput, leave any bitter feelings you may be harboring outside the office and treat your ex with respect. Avoid dragging the entire office into your tangled love web.
Let’s face it. Company policy or not, office romances are here to stay. And all the useful little tips mentioned above are assuming you will stay with the same company and will be able to navigate the political hailstorm that will come your way.
But if you want sage and wise advice – advice that is easy and 100% foolproof – is just avoid the office romance.