Love can bloom anywhere, and an office is no exception. But unlike other romances, office romances are certainly more talked about. They are a hot topic in both real life and on screen. And if you are a fan of K-dramas, you will know how prominent office romance as a troupe is. Dramas like Her Private Life and Business Proposal to What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim showed how magical dating a coworker could be, without failing to depict problems that tag along. Whether you wish to make it public or add a tinge of excitement with a secret romance, it comes with equal parts, good and bad.
Dating a like-minded person who understands your schedule and work can be a blessing, but keeping your love life separate from work can be challenging. That’s the basics, but there’s a lot more. So, in this blog, we will take you through everything you need to know about dating a coworker. From do’s and don’ts to pros and cons, we want you to know it all and determine if office romance is your cup of tea.
Let’s get started!
Are There Any Rules Of Dating A Coworker: Do’s And Don’ts?
When it comes to love, there are no rules. But office romance is a bit different. When you take love out of the comfort of your personal space and put it in a professional set-up, there are certain rules that you need to follow. So, let’s look at the do’s and don’ts of dating a coworker.
Do: Say No To Favoritism
When you date a coworker, you must draw a clear line between your personal and professional life. In a workspace, you have to act rationally and free of any biases. You cannot favor your other half under any circumstances and make biased decisions even when they are directly involved. You can never put your partner’s interests over the interests of your workspace.
Don’t: PDA At Office Premises During Office Hours
Love can bloom in the workspace, but you must keep the associated PDA out of it. There is a certain etiquette that you need to follow while at work, and office romance can potentially breach this said decorum. Don’t behave like those every gross couple does. So, you have to behave with your partner professionally, whenever at work, and make sure your other coworkers don’t feel uncomfortable by your actions.
Do: Keep Personal Tensions Out Of The Workspace
Sometimes dating a coworker can become a conflict of interest. Even if it is not all sunshine and rainbows in your personal relationship, you cannot let that hamper your professional one. You must act professionally and not let personal tension ruin your professional relationships.
Don’t: Secret Meetups
If you are dating a coworker in a different department, you might want to sneak out at times for a rendezvous. But that is quite unprofessional, and if you get caught, it might hamper your reputation.
Do While Dating A Coworker: Check Office Policies On Dating
While we live in the 21st century, there might still be some companies that have policies governing office romance, if not against it. So, make sure you are in sync with them if there are any.
Don’t: Make It Weird
When you date in a work set-up, you might get uncomfortable in each other’s presence while trying to maintain a professional demeanor. But you behaving weirdly will make it uncomfortable for those around you. So, act as you would normally do and release the tension. You have to be extra cautious of this point if you are dating your coworker in secret. Trying to hide it too much might work against you and disclose the nature of your relationship.
Don’t: Date Your Superiors Or Subordinates
We are in no way saying that you should only date someone from a similar standing in life, but when it comes to office romance, it is better to keep it that way. Why? Because when you stand in different places on the professional ladder, certain uncomfortable scenarios might arise. If you give out a performance review in favor of your partner, other employees might mistake it as favoritism, and any tensions at work might translate into your professional relationship.
Don’t: Hide Your Relationship
It’s better to come clean about your relationship than hiding it and having your coworkers find out about it from other sources. We understand that when you are unsure about the relationship in the initial stages, you might want to keep it a secret, but once you are sure, it’s better to tell them and reduce the awkwardness.
Is Dating A Coworker Common?
You might never have dated someone in the office before, but that doesn’t mean dating a coworker is uncommon. You see a coworker every day; you sit with them, exchange ideas with them, and share your laughter and worries, so falling in love with them is not a long shot. While professionalism says otherwise, an office is where two like-minded people could meet, develop a connection and fall in love. The office romances in popular fiction are not a figment of someone’s imagination but a reality you can see at every corner. And no, we are not simply throwing an assumption, but it is a fact proven by several surveys.
- A survey by Vault.com disclosed that 58% of employees had dated their colleagues.
- Over 19% of employees have had affairs outside their marriage/relationship. (this is not ideal in any scenario but is indeed a sad reality)
- Another survey by Vault.com showed that over 18% of employees have engaged in a casual relationship with their colleagues.
- In a recent survey, 72% said they would try workspace romance if given a chance.
These stats prove that office romance is not an exception. So, if your heart wants, go for it but tread carefully so as not to break any professional rules.
Dating A Coworker: Is It Unprofessional?
Now addressing the elephant in the room: is dating a coworker unprofessional? There is no straightforward answer to this question. It depends upon several factors, including your company’s dating policies, the nature of your relationship, and if you are letting the romance come between your professional obligations.
- If your company has a policy against dating your coworker, then yes, it is unprofessional of you to engage in one.
- If you let your personal equation hamper the professional dynamics of your team, then you are not being professional.
- When you are at work, you should work. If you spend time with your partner during office hours and let that take a toll on your performance, that is a sign of unprofessionalism.
- When dating a younger worker, if you favor them in any way, that counts as unprofessionalism.
- When you date someone from the same team, other team members might feel left out, and some tension might arise. That’s one of the reasons why certain companies have a rule against office romance.
- There might be some information that should be confidential, but you might tell those secrets to your partner. That’s a clash of interests and can term you unprofessional.
Simply put, if you follow basic workspace etiquette, don’t let your personal relationship interfere with your professional one, and your company doesn’t have a rule against it, dating a coworker is not unprofessional.
Cons Of Dating A Coworker: The Down Side!
What If You Break Up?
Imagine breaking up with your partner and having to see them every day at work. That sounds awful, right? A sense of awkwardness will seep in, impacting not just you but your other coworkers as well. So, if you really want to date a coworker, make sure it is not out of a momentary whim. Only go forward if you are sure about it and wish to give the relationship a chance.
You Might Become The Centre Of Office Gossip
If you are dating your coworker, people might gossip or spread rumors about you. Especially if you’re dating a younger coworker or if you are dating your boss. If you think such gossip can stain your relationship and impact your mental health, it is better not to engage in an office romance.
You Might Get Fired!
Can you get fired for dating a coworker? If you are considering the risks of dating a coworker, this tops the list. But this point is valid only if your company has policies against workplace dating(1) or if you breach any other company protocols in any way. Otherwise, dating a coworker won’t have such serious repercussions.
Professional Boundaries Can Stain Your Romantic Relationship
If you are dating your superior, you might get scolded if you do something wrong, and you might not take it well professionally. If you are dating someone from the same team and see them advancing quickly while you are feeling stuck, it might lead to jealousy. Competition is duly present in any workplace, but a romantic relationship doesn’t handle it well. So, your professional dynamics can stain your relationship if not handled well.
Pros Of Dating A Coworker: The Bright Side!
You Get To See Your Partner Every Day!
Nowadays, we are all nearing our fate of becoming corporate slaves. We are so caught up in our professional selves that spending time with friends and family is a luxury. When someone asks why you aren’t dating anyone, how often have you said, “Who has the time for all that”? Yes, we are really busy and rarely have time for those dates, but you can always find the time for office romances. You can go to work together, get together for lunch or during breaks and maybe go back home together after a date night. That’s indeed a pro of dating a coworker who stands tall amidst our busy schedules.
You Can Achieve A Superior Level Of Understanding
A partner who understands your busy schedule, someone who has similar interests, someone who understands your work and guides you whenever required, or a coworker could be that for you. When you work in the same office, you coexist in the same environment for over 8 hours. That helps develop a level of understanding which might not be possible for people from two different walks of life. Imagine getting to rant all about your work without feeling your partner might be disinterested; who wouldn’t want that?
It Can Be Your Source Of Adrenaline
From the office romances you might have seen on-screen, you already know how exciting it could be. Yes, we did say no to secret meetings, but hush-hush; that could be fun. Exchanging those secret glances, holding hands whenever you see a gap, or even just seeing them sitting across the room can boost your morale and actually make your workplace not just bearable but also exciting.
FAQs: A Quick Glance On Dating A Coworker
It is unprofessional to date a coworker if it is against your company policies or if you let your personal life interfere with your professional relationship; otherwise, no.
When you date a coworker, it is called a workplace relationship or office romance, as popular culture calls it.
Your boss or HR might tell you otherwise, but office romance is common. A survey by Vault.com disclosed that 58% of employees had dated their colleagues at some point, and that’s more than half. We can clearly see the majority there.
A coworker will have similar work commitment, ethics, and interests. Also, since you get to spend a lot of time with each other, in this timespan there will be a lot of probability of falling in love.
That’s it for our personal guide on dating a coworker. Simply put, an office romance can be as good or as bad as you make it to be. It has both pros and cons; while it can become your source of solace, it can also hinder your professional growth. Ultimately, it all comes down to how well you can draw a line between your personal and professional space. So, you don’t have to refrain from experiencing the thrill of dating a coworker if you are ready to follow the rules and are confident that you can. But please go through your company’s dating policies to avoid personal and professional heartbreak.