There is a high probability that in the list of highly controversial topics, the issue of romance at work would rank at or nearly at the top. The truth, however, is that we spend a large percentage of our time at work. Therefore, it is only natural that we become attracted and enter into a relationship with the people with whom we share most of our time. Office relationship has ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’.
The workplace serves as a social environment. It means we get to interact, share common interests, and make friends – the exact sort of environment for fostering attractions. Needless to say that no matter how many times this issue is discussed or frowned upon, romance or dating in the workplace will always exist. Co-workers are in a position to become intimately involved as a result of closeness, convenience, availability, circumstances, or compatibility. The important factor, though, is being able to approach it in a proper way. This article intends to weigh the pros and cons and the way forward of office relationship.
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While it might sound hilarious on some level, dating in the workplace has a few perks. It can benefit the organization by helping to increase the levels of engagement of the people involved. Dating or romance in the workplace also reinstates emotions into an otherwise formal and serious business environment.
Workers are continually seeking a balance in their work and personal life. Dating in the workplace helps create work and personal balance to a certain extent. Getting involved romantically with a colleague also means that you are with someone who understands your job. Someone who understands the challenges that come with it. Having someone who understands the demands of your job and the effect on your time and availability is a plus. You have one less thing to worry about. This fosters relationship growth a great deal.
When you spend much of your time with someone in the same environment, each day and every day, you get a lot of insight into their intelligence, qualities, and personality. This type of insight creates chemistry and intimacy which might be relatively difficult if you were involved with someone else outside of your workplace and whom you get to see every other day when you don’t have to be at work. The truth is, there is a sense of security in dating someone you already know.
Dating someone in the workplace also gives you the opportunity to spend time together. Because you are in the same place almost at the same time, availability in the relationship does not become an issue, and this in itself is an essential ingredient for a relationship to thrive.
The downsides of dating in the workplace could also be numerous. One major con is the fact that nothing ever stays a secret for long. Sooner or later everyone gets to know you are dating someone in the workplace, and your relationship becomes the topic for office gossip.
Another disadvantage is you just might be spending too much time together. As much as the thought of being able to spend time together is a plus, it also has its downsides. Spending practically all your time together may also be the fastest way to killing or suffocating the excitement and waiting that fuels romance. There is a tendency that both parties would begin to rub off on each other’s sore spots, which could eventually cause pressure on the relationship.
In a situation where the relationship isn’t working, breaking up might be hard for both parties especially if the relationship has become common knowledge in and around the workplace. The concern for people’s opinions and perceptions might inevitably force the continuance of a relationship that is already unhealthy.
Also, the question of what comes next after a breakup remains valid. This can, by far, be the most disastrous effect of dating in the workplace. The fact that you cannot avoid seeing the person you were with every day at work creates a lot of tension and could lead to an unhappy working environment. It could lead to absenteeism, poor performance, and distractions. Sometimes, your friends and colleagues at work might be forced to take sides, especially in the case of a messy breakup. This in itself is unhealthy for organizational productivity.
In extreme cases, there could be legal issues. This is in case one party wants the relationship to end and the other doesn’t. Fights, sexual harassment claims, and legal drama could ensue.
Ethics and security reasons could also be a major disadvantage of office dating. When co-workers get involved in the workplace, a major fear of the employers/organizations is that delicate information can be exchanged, and this may be detrimental to the operations of the organization.
Most companies have written policies, rules, and laws against dating in the workplace. Honestly, since when did that ever stop most people? My take is that as long as there is a collection of people, there will be dating. The only advice is to do it right. If you must, here is:
Th Way Forward
Be professional – keeping your office romance as professional as possible is key. Keep your relationship from becoming office gist. Always prioritize your job/career and be careful with public display of affection (PDA).
Try not to date your boss or subordinate – this usually puts you in an awkward position.
Go public – most times you aren’t really fooling anybody when you try and keep your relationship at work a secret. The best way is to go public with it and leave no doubts about your continued commitment to your job.
No sex in the workplace – security cameras and unforeseen interruptions are just some of the things you have to worry about. The best is to desist from any form of sex at the workplace. Save all the pleasures for after work.
Be careful with e-mails – beware of flirtatious emails and bedside conversations sent via office email. All it takes is the wrong button to get the whole office into your business. Also, every organization most likely has ways of monitoring and accessing employee emails, so be careful.
Respect company laws – if you read your employment contract well and agreed to the terms, then by all means respect the laws of your organization.
What has been your experience with office relationship? Have you dated someone you work with before? Please, share your thoughts in the comments.
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