Is your co-worker With today's fast paced lifestyle, it can be tough to find the time to meet a man. That's why so many women end up peering over their office cubicle to see if a co-worker might be "Mr. Right."
But workplace romance can be fraught with complications. GalTime checked in with an expert-- Michael Crom, Executive Vice President of Dale Carnegie Training, to see what the "right" way is to conduct an office romance.
5 Office Romance Do's and Don'ts
1. Do Check Company Policy: If your company policy forbids dating inside of the office, ask yourself if it's worth potentially losing your job. If your professional life is more important than your personal life, it probably isn't worth the risk and anxiety that will accompany your relationship.
2. Do Save Gifts and Romance for Outside of the Office: Don't send flowers or chocolates to your partner's desk. There should be absolutely no PDA at work.
Related: Are You Guilty of Facebook PDA?
3. Do Keep Your Business and Social Lives Separate: If you start dating a coworker, make sure you establish boundaries early in the relationship. Don't let your love life affect your ability to do your job. Remember that it isn't just you and your partner that are involved, it's your entire office and the future of the company's dating policy.
4. Don't Date Your Boss: We highly advise against dating a boss or senior member of the company. This will absolutely cause tension between you and your coworkers.
5. Do Avoid Arguments That Involve The Whole Office: One of Dale Carnegie's core principles is to avoid arguments. If you argue at work it could make things difficult not just for the two of you, but also for the entire office and as a result, bring into question the future of the company dating policy.
When business and pleasure mix
GalTime: How do you make sure your other co-workers aren't uncomfortable with the office romance?
Michael Crom: It's important to maintain a good relationship with your boss and co-workers, but keep your office romance discreet. If you find yourself talking about your significant other in the office, keep details to a minimum. Too much information will make your co-workers feel uncomfortable, and saying too much can cause rumors. If you find that your co-workers are still very uncomfortable, try to see things from their perspective and talk to them about what you could do differently to improve the situation.
GT: When is the right time to tell your boss?
MC: Office romance isn't black and white, so there is no "right" time to tell your boss. In general, if there is a specific reason why you may have to tell your boss about your relationship, such as it's affecting your work level or making people in the office feel uncomfortable, then bring it up.
GT: Do you need to let HR know?
MC: You need to let HR know for reasons such as insurance policies, but if there is an issue you need to address with HR caused by your relationship then you and your partner need to discuss ways in which you can solve the problems outside of the office. If your relationship does not affect your professional life in any way, then you do not need to address it with HR unless it is against company policy.
GT: What if things go sour... how can you keep a good working relationship with your ex?
MC: You need to plan an "exit strategy." When you begin your relationship, it is extremely important to think about the consequences of a break-up. Weigh the risks and rewards because if you are not prepared to handle your break-up in a professional manner, it is probably not worth embarking on the relationship in the first place. Do not end on a sour note, but promise to respect each other professionally and remain friends for the benefit of the entire office.
Related: Relationship Rules Worth Breaking
GT: How can you prevent your office romance from impacting your work?
MC: It's human nature to allow your personal life to sometimes affect your professional life, but make a pact with yourself to keep these feelings outside of the office. Set boundaries for inside of the office. For example, if your significant other's office is on another floor of the building, only venture there in the morning and before you go home. This will keep your work and home life as separate as possible, which will allow you to focus more during business hours.
GT: Are there any people you should absolutely NOT have an office romance with?
MC: Having an office romance with your boss, will absolutely upset the politics within the whole office.
GT: What is someone in your workplace is interested in you... but the feeling isn't mutual? How do you handle it professionally?
MC: At Dale Carnegie Training, we tell our customers to be sympathetic with the other person's point of view. It is important to maintain a platonic relationship with the person who is interested in you, but it is also important to be honest. Begin the conversation in a friendly way, but let them know that you are only interested in a professional relationship with them. Being candid and upfront will help avoid arguments and confusion in the future.
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