Aside from all the larger than life inappropriate workplace dating scenarios that bombard us on a daily basis courtesy of our cable television provider, workplace romances do take place and unfortunately can make for a very awkward environment for those involved. The work environment is constructed for….well, work! And many companies have a specific workplace dating policy in their employee handbooks explicitly addressing office romances.
Look, pretty much no one will really give a darn about playful remarks between coworkers, but when rumors and accusations begin to tarnish the reputation of the company or any of its key workers, it’s time to address the issue. You don’t always need to avoid workplace dating but you do need to keep it very low key and understand what your company’s workplace dating policy is regarding any concealed office romances. Is it grounds for termination or is it more of a don’t ask, don’t tell kind of thing?
Another thing of importance to consider is what will happen if this relationship turns sour? What was once playful remarks at the office can turn into a very uncomfortable work environment with rumors and accusations no longer kept behind closed doors but now out in the open for all to see. The workplace taboo of getting caught in a compromising situation with a coworker is really only good for television and the movies. Remember you have to be seen by the same people every day and them knowing your business, especially when it involves your love life is bound to cause stress, or at the very least be very awkward.
Not all office romances should be off limits but you would still need to set some guidelines so as not to bring too much unwanted attention to yourselves. Too many or too intense public displays of attention with a coworker can make for a very uncomfortable work environment for those around you. You should also make certain that any potential break up in the relationship won’t cause any significant emotional or financial harm as more than likely one of you might choose to leave the company. The key is not to let any workplace dating get in the way of your responsibilities. After all you are there to work.
Among the most important things to remember is to avoid workplace dating with a direct superior or an employee who is a subordinate to you or who would need to reply directly to you. In these instances you can almost guarantee that the rumor mill will be filled with accusations and someone’s reputation is going down the drain as well as possibly their job.
The best way to avoid workplace dating conflicts is to avoid office romances as it is considered workplace taboo in most companies. However if you are intent upon dating a coworker then just be discreet, but not to the point of trying to hide it completely as dating at work is a dangerous sport . Focus on your job and keep PDA’s at playful remarks but no further at the office. Do your job at the office and the fun stuff at home!