SOME of the most loving and lasting marriages are born at work, but so are some of the most heavily criticised and scandalous relationships and affairs. With such a thin line between what is considered a cute little office romance and what becomes juicy workplace gossip, it's no wonder many people prefer to just keep their careers and love lives separate. But Cupid is as blind as his aim is poor, so we know that despite our best intentions, 40 hours each week is more than enough incubation time for feelings to take root.
Relationship coach and author of Are You Ready to say I Do? TB Fuller says that while a workplace relationship can grow into a beautiful thing, the very nature of them instantly raises several red flags.
“I know the feelings are high, but you need to consider whether it's worth the risk if things go sour. It can really hamper the productivity at work,” she says. She suggests that you think on these things before you clock in to an office tryst head over heels.
It might affect your performance
“Some people are able to separate themselves from their feelings when it's time to get down to work, but not everyone can do that,” Fuller points out. “Being in a relationship with someone at work is sure to increase the number of emotions you feel each day. You might find yourself getting caught up in trivial things throughout the course of the day, and you might start to slack off on your job. You might also find yourself talking to this person incessantly, which might affect your relationships with other co-workers and cause you to miss out on important moments at work.”
Fuller advises that if you find yourself 'catching feelings' on the job, you ensure that you do not become overly invested in it and that you set clear boundaries from the get-go for both yourself and your partner.
Company property is for work only
“While all relationships thrive on a little bit of spontaneity, you do not want to lose your job and put your relationship in jeopardy by doing the wrong things at the wrong place,” the relationship coach warns. “It would be wise to consult your workplace code of conduct to see exactly what the boundaries are, but rest assured the office is nobody's bedroom. Also be careful not to bring your relationship into your work e-mail and groups or use your desk phone to call theirs to talk about personal matters.”
You could begin to feel suffocated
Seeing someone at work everyday, then spending time together on weekends and after hours can be thrilling at first, but it can get old pretty quickly.
“It can become overwhelming or even annoying especially if you decide to move in together. Both parties must ensure that they spend time apart from each other because each person needs to do their own thing,” she says. “Perhaps adjustments to your work schedules can be done to ensure that you are not gazing into each other's eyes all day.”
Your dirty laundry can be aired easily
Everyone loves a hot piece of office gossip — that's everyone except the ones being talked about. Fuller advises that you keep your personal business out of the place of business.
“You first need to decide if you are going to let your co-workers know you are dating,” she advises. “Even if you decide to let them know, that's about all you should let them know. No joking around about how your partner is in bed, no venting to your friend everytime he does something that upsets you, and no arguing or emotional conversations where you might be overheard. Chances are that people are going to talk anyway but you should never be the ones giving them ammo.”
Keep it clean
“It is not a good idea to date someone who directly supervises you or vice versa,” Fuller warns. “Ethics in the workplace can be seriously breached when emotions come into the mix and as such relationships that occur under these circumstances come under heavy scrutiny.”
So as to not raise eyebrows when a promotion, raise or other type of merits should be awarded, she advises that it is safest to speak with HR if the relationship is getting serious.
Things could get messy
All relationships hit rough patches and unfortunately a large number of them end. The effects of these things can be worse on people who have to work with each other.
“Feelings such as jealousy, insecurity and anger can come into play and make things tense in the workplace,” she notes. “Also, if the relationship should end, things could get very awkward especially if you work closely with each other. Things could get so bad that one or both persons end up seeking new jobs.”