While we all know dating coworkers is risky business, sometimes it simply happens. After all, the workplace can be a social atmosphere in which at least somewhat like-minded people come together.
Plus, most coworkers will typically live within a reasonable distance – oh, and you also see them every day.
Unfortunately, inner-office romances don’t always work out – hence the age-old axiom “don’t mix business with pleasure.” As such, it’s important to tread lightly in this area and heavily consider the ethical implications involved.
So, how do you handle things when you start to fall for a coworker? We’ve got some tips.
First of all, it’s important to ask yourself if it’s truly worth it to get involved with a coworker. Dating someone you work with can be a much bigger deal than other typical relationships.
If things don’t work out, you’ll likely still have to see the person every day unless you change jobs. And you can’t let their presence affect your performance either, else you might not have a choice about that.
Take heed the potential complications – even if it feels like a sure thing, there’s no guarantee things will last.
Understand Company Policies
Regardless of how you feel, your company may have certain policies in place regarding intra-company relationships. Some companies have formal rules regarding the topic.
The majority of companies that do tend to disallow relationships between supervisors and the employees who report to them. Others have even stricter stipulations, and some outright forbid workplace relationships altogether.
Consider Your Rank
Even if there is no company policy stopping you, do consider your rank. It may be OK to date coworkers on the same level as you, but dating a superior or subordinate is often inappropriate.
Not only can this lead to perceived unfair preferential treatment, it could also halt your ladder-climbing progression. Is that relationship really worth forgoing potential promotions?
If you do decide to date a coworker, it’s important to remain professional in the workplace. Not only do you risk making others feel uncomfortable, it can also severely impact workplace morale.
Some companies even have consensual relationship agreements that employees must sign into should they form a romantic relationship.
The last thing any company wants is relationship drama playing out in the workplace.
Have a Termination Plan
Look, we know you don’t want to imagine or plan for the worst. However, it’s important to communicate with your significant other what your plans will be should you break things off.
If things don’t work out, you’ll need to be prepared to handle the breakup with class and dignity.
This way, if you do split, you can ideally keep the breakup from affecting your work life.