Workplace Romance: Flirting with Danger

relationships at workIt’s February, and millions of people around the world are making plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their significant others. In the spirit of the holiday, there may be a certain someone at your workplace you’ve debated whether or not to start a relationship with, and you’ve decided to take the plunge.

Hey, if it worked for President Barack Obama and Bill Gates of Microsoft, why can’t it work for you? But before you jump into things head first, take some time to consider these guidelines so you don’t get bit by something worse than the love bug.

Company Policy Should be Your First Love
With workplace relationships becoming more common and accepted among younger employees, the definition of sexual harassment broadening, and employers becoming more wary of sexual discrimination lawsuits, more and more companies are putting a real effort into developing “love contracts” or “anti- fraternizing” policies.

It’s a tricky subject employers are dealing with now or will be handling in the future, but it’s still best to review your employer guidelines to see if there is any information you should consider before starting a romantic workplace relationship. The most common things to look out for are rules about being in a relationship with someone who has been or is a supervisor to the significant other.

Put Work First
What you do outside the office is your own business, but when you’re at work, you are there to do a job. If at all possible, leave your personal romance at home and treat your partner as any other co-worker. It’s much more important to maintain an office relationship with that person developing your job.

You should also consider keeping your space with your partner. You do spend a large part of your day at work, and spending too much time with a significant other can not only lower your job performance, but it can also strain the relationship.  In most cases, the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is important to remember within a romantic relationship.

While workplace romances can be a very tight rope to walk, it is usually possible. As long as you remain professional and adhere to your employer’s guidelines, you could have a relationship with a co-worker that won’t interfere with your career.

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