You spend a large amount of your time with them. They’re very dependable (most of the time… I hope). And you even have inside jokes within your group.
Am I talking about your friends or co-workers?
Unsurprisingly, workplace romance is highly prevalent in the traditional and even virtual workplace. It is so common that, according to a recent poll, a whopping seventy-five percent (75%) of employees in the US have been involved in an office romance.
However, the question still remains: should you date your co-worker?
Even today, the policy regarding dating co-workers in many companies continues to be prohibitive. Besides the issue of productivity, workplace relationships can also lead to abuse of power and other problems.
So, before you ask your co-worker out this coming Valentine’s Day, here are some things to consider:
Be Aware of Your Company’s Policy Regarding Dating Co-workers.
Besides being an HR nightmare, numerous scandals are connected to office romance. These include sexual harassment, favoritism, and discrimination.
Because of this, it’s understandable why your employers would want to avoid fraternization between employees. So if you keep your relationship with your co-worker a secret and they find out, there will be grave consequences.
Thus, the first thing you should know when considering whether you should date your co-worker or not is your company’s policy on the matter.
Some companies strictly prohibit their employees from dating each other, both for the company’s sake and for their employees. Others will allow it so long as the couple notifies the company’s HR department about their relationship.
How Will Your Co-workers React to Your Relationship?
Your company isn’t the only group of people you have to consider if you’re planning to date your co-worker.
Another factor you should consider regarding whether you should date your co-worker or not is what your other co-workers will say.
Be prepared to face gossip and rumors from people within and outside your department regarding your relationship. Yep, even if you and your partner try to keep it a secret. People are more observant than you think.
To nip this problem in the bud, come clean to them about the relationship between you and your partner. Doing so allows you to prevent the rumors from becoming unmanageable and negatively affecting your work.
Talk to your partner about how you’ll respond to these rumors so that there won’t be any miscommunication.
How’s the Power Dynamic Between the Two of You?
No, I’m not talking about… that. One of the main risks of dating your co-worker is the potential gap in power in your relationship.
Let’s say you rank higher in the workplace than your partner. Don’t you think they will have a hard time saying no to you since you’re their boss?
What if the role is reversed? Will you be able to say no to your boss if they ask you out on a date?
This gap between the two of you can make the other person feel pressured to say yes, even if they don’t want to. After all, would you say no to the person who signs off on your paychecks?
If you’re planning on asking your co-worker out, make sure they actually feel the same way and aren’t just pressured to go along with what you want.
And no matter what happens, consent is key. “No” means “no.”
Will You and Your Partner Be Able to Remain Professional at Work Even After You Breakup?
Of course, you don’t want to think about that, especially if you and your partner are just starting out.
But the thing is, you need to be realistic. Sometimes, the relationship works. Sometimes, it doesn’t. If you break up with your partner, can you ensure that your breakup won’t affect your work?
Remaining professional at work with someone you just broke up with is difficult. But that is no excuse to treat your former partner differently from your co-workers.
Remember, you’re not the only people at work. If your drama becomes too disruptive, expect a call from your company’s HR.
Do You Have Someone Else Already?
If keeping a regular office romance a secret was already challenging, what more a forbidden one?
I know these instances are usually found in sappy telenovelas. But cheating with a co-worker isn’t unheard of either.
And no, it’s never as alluring nor as romantic as these shows portray. It’s highly toxic, not just for those cheating on their significant others, but also for their co-workers.
How can you trust your co-worker if you know that they’re cheating on their significant other with a fellow colleague?
Additionally, extra-marital relations can also lead you to lose your job. In the Philippines, engaging in extra-marital relations is grounds for employee termination.
Love is Complicated… Especially if It’s With Your Co-worker.
Even though many companies shifted to a remote setup due to the pandemic, office romance remains alive and well.
However, before letting your emotions run wild, don’t forget to consider the factors above to help you determine whether you should date your co-worker. Doing so will help minimize any trouble with other co-workers and your company’s HR.
But if you’re looking for online work instead of romance, Remote Staff is here to help. Our jobs list has a wide range of jobs to choose from.
Good luck, and happy Valentine’s Day!