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Dating at Work: A Survival Guide

Dating at Work: A Survival Guide

So, you’ve dipped your pen in the company ink?  Rest assured – you’re far from alone.  According to a study of 11,000 attached Americans, the number one place to meet a spouse is at work.  And while hooking up within your workplace is far from ideal, this modern-day dating method can actually work, within a set of boundaries which both parties uphold.

Here’s 7 bits of relationship advice to make your relationship work – at work.

1. Be honest with your colleagues, but spare the details
People hate being played the fool.  Stealing kisses in the stationary closet will not win you any friends.  A brief heads up of ‘Dave and I are seeing each other’ is appropriate to your closest colleagues.  If you have an HR department, notify them and they’ll spread the juicy goss to upper management (who’d probably laugh if you approached them about this yourself).

2. Accept that your colleagues may grow to resent your partnership
The novelty of ‘how adorable were Sarah from Accounts and Bill at the Christmas party’ will expire quicker than a pre-packaged salad.  For a number of reasons including old fashioned jealousy, bystanders generally grow tired of couples within the office, and very quickly coupled up co-workers have a target on their back for when things don’t get done.

3. Don’t bring your love-in to work
It would be fantastic to be able to flick that switch and go from coupledom bliss to separate employees but it will take some practise.  One moment you’re in the car together debating fungal treatments, the next you’re signing off your emails with Sincerely.  Try and treat each other as co-workers during the 9-5.

4. On the flipside, don’t bring your work home with you
It’s great to have someone who knows exactly what you’re talking about when you’re ranting about work, but encourage each other to put up your hands and say ‘Stop’ when the other is talking incessantly about the office.  Make an effort to share your work war stories with another friend because once you open that dialogue at home, it is difficult to stop it.

5. Remember: your career is your number one priority
At least during the initial stages of the relationship.  You really must endeavour to protect your career as your first priority.  If your partner’s behaviour is endangering your position at the company (and remember, people are already out of place with your union to start with and cannot separate the two of you in their minds) consider moving on.

6. That being said, hatch an Escape Plan
That is, a relationship pre-nup that stipulates what you’d both do if it all went South; if you’d resign or how you’d manage etc.  It sounds calculating and unromantic (because that’s exactly what it is) but this planning surely could have saved many tantrums and rash transfers to the Northern Territory.

7. Make sure the risk is worth it.  Would you be attracted to this person if you weren’t surrounded by mind-numbing work?  Keeping in mind that you only get one shot at romance per office – without your boss thinking you’re unfocused or a plain ole’ hussy; so choose wisely.

Have you dated at work? Any bits of relationship advice for office romance?

Anna James is a freelance writer based in Sydney. Follow her on Twitter at @missannajames.

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