Do you have a gorgeous coworker who also happens to show their interest in you? Are you thinking about asking them out to get to know them a little bit better? Well, you are not alone in this as a great number of people fall in love at the workplace. A lot of people also feel slightly uncomfortable when starting a relationship with a coworker.
Starting an office romance is tricky business for several reasons. Firstly, love in the workplace may interfere with your work productivity. Secondly, office romances are still considered a bit controversial. But considering that almost half of happily wed couples met at their workplace, we should probably change our stance on office hook-ups.
A recent national online survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 38% of U.S. employees found romance at their workplace. Where we first meet our soul mates is not important, but when it comes to finding love in the office, things tend to become rather complicated. We mustn’t allow personal relationships to interfere with our work, but on the other hand, we might benefit from such relationships. Weighing out the options is very hard as both relationships and work are two of the most fundamental aspects of human life. But wise choices need to be made once we become adults and our hearts, unfortunately, need to take a back seat. If you are asking yourself whether to make the next move with your office crush, consider these 10 things.
10. Are You Allowed To Date A Coworker?
CareerBuilder cautions those who want to start a relationship with a coworker first to check the company handbook. It might seem like a silly suggestion at first, but apparently, some companies have strict policies regarding office romances, and you need to make sure you won’t jeopardize your job in case you decide to start up a personal relationship. If it turns out that your company has strict policies regarding coworker relationships, you’ll have to weigh out your priorities – is love on your priority list or do you consider your career more important? These may seem like hard choices to make, but they should be taken into account before you think of hooking up with a coworker. And in case you were thinking about keeping a low profile by keeping your relationship a secret, do take note that there are always those office snitches that may make things a bit complicated for you.
9. Consider What You Expect From This Relationship
It may be hard to think clearly when you are head over heels in love, but with office romances, you need to at least try to take things into perspective. If you let your emotions get the best of you, you might jeopardize a good career path just because your brain was under a dopamine surge from being in love. Do you believe this potential relationship will end in marriage or disappointment? Furthermore, are you being casual about what you consider to just be a fling? Remember, if things go sour, you will have to see this person for as long as you remain in your work position. You also need to be acquainted with their personality so that in the event the two of you break up both of you act maturely and leave personal matters aside. And remember – never force your coworkers to choose sides once the office fling is over.
8. Is This Person Your Boss?
If yes, then maybe it would be better to change your job and then pursue the relationship.
Amy Nicole Salvaggio, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa, conducted a study to examine the attitudes of workers towards office romances. According to her study, most employees do not mind romantic relationships developing among coworkers, but they did mind if the relationship was between a supervisor and subordinate. Starting a relationship with your boss may strain your relationship with your colleagues. You may start feeling guilt and shame as a result. From a psychosocial perspective, there is simply too much burden for anyone to handle when starting a relationship with someone in a higher-ranking position. But, on the other hand, if you don’t care all that much about other people’s opinions and are sure that you will be able to maintain a fair amount of professionalism despite this relationship, then pursuing such a romance might not be so bad after all.
7. Is This Person Single?
Extramarital affairs always cause undue strain to all parties involved and in every social setting. But when these things happen in an office ambiance, that strain affects people’s professional lives as well. Starting an affair with a married person will cause a great deal of problems in the office according to Professor Salvaggio. Your coworkers may easily find out about the affair and judge your actions. This will cause you undue stress, and you may even lose your credibility as an employee. Extramarital affairs cause a lot of psychological stress, and it is better to resist the temptation, especially when your job is at stake. Besides, if you believe that you or your crush’s marriage is doomed, it is better to wait for the marriage to dissolve or repair itself rather than pursuing an affair in the midst of marital turbulences.
6. Are You Good At Conflict Resolution?
Before you start a new relationship, you cannot know the outcome no matter how compatible you are with the significant other. In case the relationship ends, there may be a chance of conflict from either side. Such conflicts can cause tension in the work environment as the couples may force coworkers to choose sides according to Dr. Charles A. Pierce, an associate professor of management at the University of Memphis. Some conflicts in the workplace are inevitable and natural. People have different personalities, and their approach to work may differ and cause strains. But creating conflicts on your job due to personal and private issues is something most can do without. When it comes to work, keep personal matters aside at all times. In case the other party is trying to create conflict between you and your coworkers, remain calm and try to open a rational discussion with this person.
5. Beware Of Sexual Harassment Charges
This one may sound too far out, but sexual harassment charges are a frequent manipulation tactic in the working environment. Relationship strains can hurt people’s egos. Some people, unfortunately, don’t deal well with rejection and choose to hurt the other person emotionally, financially, socially, and even physically. False allegations of sexual harassment are one such form of vengeance that is more often used by women than by men. This form of manipulation is also observed in people suffering from personality disorders. Dr. Pierce cautions workers about sexual harassment charges that some people abuse after a bitter breakup. This is especially true when the breakup happens between a supervisor and subordinate. Most people cannot predict such outcomes after a breakup, but taking note that these things do happen may make things easier for you in the case of things turn sour.
4. The Romance May Jeopardize Your Career
There are so many ways an office romance can jeopardize your career, and one way is when your supervisor has a conservative stance of love in the workplace. There are cases where supervisors see the development of romantic affairs among their employees as unprofessional and decide not to offer them a promotion. In most cases, this type of thinking is unjustified and based on prejudiced thinking. However, it is up to you to juggle your personal choices and decide if your career or your personal relationships come first in case your boss is a bit conservative when it comes to office romances. Office romances may be a common occurrence, but some don’t like to think of them as such. Another way you could prevent such uncomfortable situations from happening is by keeping your relationship private.
3. The Positives Of A Relationship
While we’ve focused mostly on the unfavorable aspects of starting a workplace relationship, we also need to mention the positive aspects which these do have. Dr. Pierce states that workplace romances can make workers happier about their work, increase their motivation, and lead to an increase in productivity. The relationship you want to pursue may improve your overall job satisfaction, and you may enrich both your personal and professional life. Being in love and starting a meaningful relationship can create a sense of well-being and increase overall life satisfaction. Such a positive state of mind has to leave good outcomes in the quality of your work. After all, what good is a big career if you are unhappy with your personal life? But don’t think this means you have to be in a relationship to be happy; happiness means many things to many people.
2. Meeting Like-Minded People
There is a logical reason why so many people meet their future spouses at work, as explained by Chantal Gautier. Chantal Gautier, who is a Visiting Lecturer at Cass Business School, states that office romances are very common simply because the office environment increases the chances of meeting people with whom we have quite a lot in common. The chances are that you are compatible with the person you are attracted to because you have the same education, interests, and background which landed you the job in the first place. No wonder the stakes are high of meeting the love of your life at the office rather than a bar. And besides romantic relationships, the office is also a great place to build long-lasting friendships with people with whom you share similar interests.
1. Are You Able To Fight Stigma?
There are instances where office relationships may lead to great social stigma. While your coworkers probably do not mind your relationship, those in charge of you may not agree with your relationship. Starting a relationship with whomever you want to means dealing with a lot of stigma going in your direction. You may see the relationship as a way of building character, or the stigma may lower your self-esteem which, of course, is psychologically damaging. But if you are a someone who likes breaking taboos and changing things in our society for the better, then go ahead and do whatever feels right for you. Our views on relationships and sexuality have changed a lot in the past century, and many changes are waiting to happen as we speak, and these include our views of office romances.
The workplace is probably the perfect environment for meeting the love of your life. You get to meet a lot of like-minded people, and love may make your work life even more fulfilling. But in case the relationship ends bitterly, both your personal and professional life may become afflicted. This is why you need to consider the pros and cons before pursuing a relationship with someone from your office. Take these 10 things into consideration before pursuing that office romance you eagerly wish for. Wise choices are hard to make for all aspects of life, and this includes love and business.