Back in the day, dating a co-worker was punishable with a pink slip. Today, people basically live at their jobs. This leaves less time for socializing outside of work. And while shacking up with a colleague is more acceptable these days, there are still rules you should abide by. Here are five tips for staying professional when it comes to interoffice romance.
1. Know company policy.
The very first thing you should do before acting on a mutual attraction with a co-worker is find out what your company policy is for interoffice dating. Go to the human resource department and get a copy of the policy and procedures manual. Read it very carefully and, if possible, have an HR expert or lawyer friend look over the text.
2. No PDA.
I mean absolutely no public displays of affection when you’re both at work. Don’t go in for a quick peck on the lips when you find yourselves alone in the break room. Don’t even think of IMing each other love notes or that stupid smiley face icon blowing a heart kiss out of its mouth. PDA spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
“Dating a colleague is no longer taboo, as long as you’re smart
about it and don’t draw attention to your relationship.”
3. Date laterally.
Don’t date the boss and don’t date someone “below” your rung on the corporate ladder. Dating a peer is the best way to date within the workplace. Chances are, you make around the same amount of money, have similar schedules and can understand and help manage day-to-day work stress. Plus, people won’t think you’re a total kiss-ass for dating a higher-up.
4. Have an escape plan.
Obviously you don’t want to chat about a possible breakup, but when you’re partner is also a co-worker, it’s mandatory to have an escape plan. The most mature thing the two of you can do is promise to be friends if the relationship doesn’t work out. There is nothing worse than working with your ex-boyfriend after a bad breakup, especially if you intend on staying at your job for a while.
5. Keep quarrels at home.
As you shouldn’t bring PDA into the workplace, you also shouldn’t bring fights and disagreements. Make a promise to each other that no matter what you’re fighting about, the moment you step into the office, any baggage should be left in the parking garage.
Dating a colleague is no longer taboo, as long as you’re smart about it and don’t draw attention to your relationship. Make sure to keep your home life at home and your work life at work. Remember, find out your company’s policy on interoffice romance, date laterally, have an escape plan and no — absolutely no — PDA.