I am not 100% sure why, but we have all heard that dating co-workers or professional colleagues could become problematic. Yet, studies show that nearly 25 percent of U.S. married couples met at work. It’s no secret that work is where most single people spend a great deal of their time, and we are in an era where people have been conditioned to prioritize their career advancement. Whether you work in corporate America or own a small business, most of my peers are making a conscious decision to establish themselves professionally before thinking too seriously about being in a committed relationship.
Given the amount of time we spend working, I believe work romance is often unavoidable. In fact, according to CareerBuilder’s Annual Valentine’s Day Survey, although declining in numbers, office romance is here to stay. The survey revealed that “office romances have hit a 10-year low with approximately 36 percent of workers admitting to having dated a co-worker, down from about 45 percent.”
No matter how taboo, work romance appears, dating a colleague can be comforting as most workplace attractions are based in the sharing similar mindset, work ethic and even financial status. Initially, these commonalities could increase mutual respect and decrease typical relationship friction. Nonetheless, singles should not enter a relationship with a coworker or colleague without research and establishing rules.
Between the internet, pop culture magazines, and barbershop conversations, there is no shortage of advice on the matter, but here are a few of my favorite rules for Romance on Your Scene:
- First and foremost, know your company’s policies regarding dating within the workplace. Statistically, even when people know the rules, they will dabble in interoffice dating anyway. Nevertheless, I’m a firm believer of knowing the rules, even if you plan to break them. According to Forbes Magazine, 41% of people don’t know their company’s policy on the issue. Even when it’s permitted, it may be wise to inform your direct supervisor. Think of it as professional courtesy.
- Be private, but not secretive. Don’t volunteer information. I’m an advocate for this advice in any dating relationship, but it’s especially important to adhere to at work. You don’t want to be the subject of unnecessary office or scene gossip. Nor do you want your relationship to be a source of distraction causing you to be less productive. Ultimately, you want the relationship to enhance one part of your life without ruining another part.
- Prioritize your feelings based on the setting. Separate business and pleasure. It’s unrealistic to think that there won’t be some spill over, but if longevity is part of your relationship goals, you’ll want to keep the lines from getting too blurry. Prioritize work at work, and prioritize the relationship at home. If you can achieve this balancing act, you may just see the benefits both at work and at home.
- Set rules…and a plan of escape. No one goes into a relationship with the intentions of it ending, but workplace dalliances tend to come with a special set of circumstances. You need to agree on how you’ll handle it if things don’t work out. The last thing that you want is to be uncomfortable or an emotional wreck at work. This may be one of the least sexy conversations that you have, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship. If you don’t ever need execute your escape plan, that’s great. If you do, you’ll be glad that you discussed it beforehand.
The bottom line is work based romances will happen. Regardless of the rules or risks, human attraction will prevail. Have fun; proceed with caution, and happy dating!
Press Release Marketing Writing Team Lead
Audrey L. Aaron
@PressReleaseLLC on Instagram