Office romance is a risky business.
The workplace can be a challenging environment, so don’t embark upon any romantic liaison without fully contemplating the consequences and carefully managing some serious office politics.
If you are considering a romantic involvement with someone at work spend some time imagining both the positive and potential negative aspects of the relationship.
Consider if you are really looking for a relationship or just friendship, what are the best and worst things that can happen, do the good things outweigh the bad ones?
Think carefully about the full implications of pursuing the relationship before you start. Talk with your intended partner to ascertain how strong the attraction is and whether it is worth pursuing given the risks for you both.
- Test the water and go slowly to see how your relationship evolves and how well each of you handles the situation at work.
- Do you collaborate on a frequent basis?
- Can you remain objective and professional in your dealings with each other at work?
- Are there any conflicts of interest?
- Are you ever in competition with each other?
- Are either of you privy to confidential information that might create a divide?
- How will your colleagues/customers respond to your relationship? Is it important that they know? (Try to keep your relationship as private as possible, particularly during the early stages and remain professional at all times during work (including business trips) so that you do not become the focus of office gossip.)
- Does your employer have a policy on relationships between staff? Consult with HR to determine if the organisation has a policy on fraternisation/work romance. Discuss whether there are any negative consequences for the organisation if you embark on this relationship. Get a legal perspective to hammer out different scenarios and ensure you are both protected if things go wrong.
- What happens if the relationship breaks down? Consider entering into an agreement that outlines the parameters of your relationship at work, how you will behave if the relationship ends and what your employer expects of you.
- Confide in a trusted colleague and see how he/she reacts. Listen to his/her advice but remember to listen to your inner voice and do what feels right for you.
There will always be pros and cons to workplace romance. It can be risky or it can be rewarding.
My final advise is to be respectful and keep personal issues separate from work issues.
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