Whether office romance leads to a D&M relationship, or just a fling, research suggests 65 per cent of us will find a bit of sizzle in the office. Dr Jeff Patrick, a lecturer at the School of Management at Griffith University, says that most workplace relationships are between single people working in different departments at a similar level of seniority.
“I think it’s terrific. I am a big believer in it,” he says.
Here are some general rules for conducting a successful office liaison.
(For those stupid enough to be dating the boss, stalking or harassing a co-worker, sleeping with a married colleague or seducing a subordinate we suggest professional help.)
- No physical displays of affection
Debra has worked in HR for more than ten years and has often been amazed at the lack of commonsense shown by some workplace couples.
She remembers one in particular who held hands throughout a work-related seminar. Even at office functions held after hours, the slobbering kiss and accompanying grope on the dance floor is OUT.
- Don’t bring home to the office
Debra remembers another couple who commandeered a meeting room for more than an hour just so they could spend time together.
Don’t “hang out” at each other’s desks either. If you need to discuss domestics or just be together, use your lunch break.
- Spreading the news
Let people know you’re dating before you become grist for the office gossip mill.
Dr Patrick suggests one half of the couple pick a co-worker they know will spread the word. Deliver the news in a low-key but positive way. When “the news” reaches the other half of the couple, he or she should confirm it in an equally low-key and positive way.
To avoid embarrassment, hold off letting colleagues know about your relationship until you’re sure it’s definitely going somewhere.
- Maintain separate identities
Dr Patrick says one of the biggest problems dating co-workers face is being seen “as one unit”. He says colleagues assume that telling something to one half of the couple means that it will automatically be communicated to the other. Likewise, colleagues assume both members of a couple share the same views.
To combat this, never agree to carry a message to your partner from a colleague, no matter how trivial. Also make a pact to make up your own mind about people and accept you may have different likes and dislikes.
- No dirty laundry
Don’t brag about your partner’s sexual prowess, lament bedroom failures or confide his battle with dandruff. EVER.
It’s disrespectful to your partner and to your colleagues to “over share”.
Even revealing intimate details about yourself might be letting colleagues know more about you and your partner than they would like.