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4 Things to Consider Before You Start Dating Someone at Your Workplace

Nkem Ndem

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No one takes a job with the intention of meeting the love of their life or starting a relationship with an attractive colleague in the office…but it happens all the time. And why not? Thanks to the long-hours and competitive work environment, a number of people spend the bulk of their life at work. Their best chance of finding their future life-partner is within the four walls of the office. Despite how focused, steely and disciplined one may be, we are only flesh and blood; and we are bound to answer when love calls.

The thing though is that while there is nothing particularly wrong with falling in love with, or dating a person who works in the same office as you, it is not as easy as other kinds of romance. Workplace romances can be tricky and awkward – it can add a dash of romance to your daily grind, or it can be lethal to your career. You have to pause and think carefully about how to handle the situation, so that you do not cause yourself more harm than good.

If you are currently crushing on a colleague and planning to make a move, or you are already in a relationship with a colleague, you may want to consider these suggestions on how you can make your office romance work:

Consider your organization’s policy about office relationships
Before you make a move on a colleague, go through your organisation’s handbook and check to see what the policy on office romance is. A number of companies frown against employees being involved in a relationship, as they have concerned about possible sexual harassment claims, civil suits and possible workplace disharmony. However, while some are not flexible and actually have stringent measures they take on defaulters, others have no strict rules against it. Despite how attractive you find the colleague, you do not want to risk your job and/or any disciplinary action. Ensure you play by the rules of your company: if they do not allow office romance, don’t do it…and if they do, carry on, but with caution.

Ensure you alert the HR on relationships
Whether you are required to report a dating relationship to the Human resource department or not, it is important that you let the HR staff in on your relationship once it starts. At the very least, tell your manager. This is so that you protect both yourself and your love interest from legal repercussions and discrimination suits. In the case where you and the person you are dating are in a supervisor-subordinate relationship, and your new lover is in charge of your appraisal, payment or performance review, the HR can help with reshuffling of duties or moving one of you to a different team depending on the company policy, in order avoid friction and resentment among other colleagues. Also, in the case where gossip in the office about your relationship is becoming difficult to manage, the HR will be the best person to help you control the situation.

Be discreet
Yes, you are in love and you want the whole world to see how cute you are…no problem, just save that for the world outside your office. You want to keep your work out of your romance and your romance out of your work. No matter how much the love is “shacking” you, do not move your cubicle so that you can stare into each other’s eyes; avoid talking privately in corners or behind closed doors; do not need to eat lunch together; and… PDA will just be irritating. Keep your work and private lives separate; that way, even when you do break up, there will be no drama or anything. Being affectionate and getting physical at your workplace actually creates an unprofessional atmosphere and can be embarrassing for certain onlookers. Even more, limit the number of colleagues with whom you share confidential information about your relationship with, you don’t want to be the one fueling the gossip.

Do NOT have sex at the office
The idea of doing “it” at work may be super exciting and can spice up your relationship, but do not fall for that temptation…unless you hate your job and are open to the idea of getting fired. No matter how daring you and your lover, keep the love act for your home.Even if you have an office with a lock or the two of you are the only ones still around, there’s always risk attached to sex at work…and you don’t want to deal with that kind of risk. You may get a great story, but you could also damage both your career and reputation.

Have you dated a colleague at work? What was your experience and how did you handle it?

Photo Credit: Bobby Deal | Dreamstime

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at www.blackinkm.com or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.

17 Comments

  1. Deleke

    July 20, 2017 at 10:11 am

    DO NOT DO IT. Never ends well

    • June

      July 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      I cannot like your comment enough!!!! It neverrrrr ends well oh! Hmmm

  2. ***

    July 20, 2017 at 10:29 am

    This made sense

  3. LAFFGAL

    July 20, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Office Romance na work ooo, you have to think & prepare yourself for the inevitable from the beginning– the babygirl involved should tell herself the truth before agreeing,: what if it didn’t work out at the end of the day, how do behave | Cope on the job? What if we break up and he starts dating another girl in the office and eventually marries her, how will I react? What if he develops cold feet during the relationship? What if he has a different personality at home? What if he is a player unbeknownst to you?

    You need to package your mind. Think about both sides.

    Let your imagination run wild and deduce the strategy you will operate with before and after. If it ends up in marriage, who will resigns for who , in case the office doesn’t allow couple on the job.

    You also have to develop a thick skin, no matter how discreet you are, some people will find out, what if they see you at Shoprite together or Cinema, story go spread for office , so you better prepare your mind.

    How will you handle other girls who are flirting with him at work, or what if he has a lot of female visitors especially if he is a superior or client relationship manager?

    Remember you can’t show your friends on the job your BBM or WhatsApp or Pictures anyhow
    again, phone has to pass-worded.

    A lot of growing up and no lapses on the Job, don’t expect that he will be on your side all the time whenever you are involved in office conflict, even if your Boo has an influence over your manager , HR or senior executives.

    You need to be on top of your job, learn how to manage emotions between 9 to 5. Pray to God that it works well so you can come on BN Weddings to post your photos for us.

    I will come back for other readers comment.

    • Hotspice_yimu

      July 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      Its the flirting by others that is the hardest to deal with….ha!!! sometimes its funny other times irritating. people that do date in the same office enviroment have “mind” abeg.

  4. Chic

    July 20, 2017 at 11:48 am

    You people that do office romance, how do you cope especially when it comes to delivering on your set goals without sentiments? How do you keep it truly professional?
    Anyways, can’t try it.

    • Bio

      July 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      We don’t date people in our departments so we hardly meet during work hours and when we do its just some teasing and eye contacts. No touch.

      I know coz I married one.

  5. Mz_Danielz

    July 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Bestie married her colleague so sometimes it works.

    Another friend has dated at least 3 guys in the office, 2 of which are married so I guess she’s the office slut.

    I don’t even allow unnecessary smiles. Abeg I’m too reputation conscious. Who knows if I’ve missed my husband

    Life has a lot of grey areas so just trust your intuition and do you.

    • B

      July 20, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      “Another friend has dated at least 3 guys in the office, 2 of which are married so I guess she’s the office slut.”

      ROTFL over ……so i guess she is the office slot. I guess so too.

      My office policy allows marriage within the organization, you just cant work in the same dept. and if you are caught in extra marital affairs within the organization, you are fired. incidentally the latter part of the policy is gender bias because it is usually the man who gets fired.

      Although in the only instance that has happened since I came on board the babe followed him.
      Poor girl, she sure was hoping for something serious.

  6. Tolu4show

    July 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I dated someone at work. It was very interesting for lack of better words. There were like 2 ladies on his case, it was hard to deal with tbh. He has now gotten a better job and moved but I can’t lie, it was HARD. our relationship was tested a lot.
    On the plus side I got to see how hard my man works and I also understood the pressure at work . So there was no nagging of you like work too much. We are still going strong and I am trusting God on this. Because he really is a good man.

  7. Siri

    July 20, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    i dated one some 6 years ago. didnt end well somehow. i dont rily like it. except we are on different floors and dept. i am single and need friends. any single guy here? at least if you are 38 yrs of age and above , holla me on my bbm d8d192c0

    • curios

      July 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      I like you siri.. I like the fact that you didn’t let fear of what they would think stop you from putting your pin out here…all the best girl…

  8. Peter

    July 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I want to try it but haven’t seen pretty one yet

  9. curios

    July 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    well the way I see it is.. relationships work or they don’t. When they work it’s, beautiful and when they don’t work it hurts like hell. Of course it hurts even more when you probably can’t move on from seeing the person. The way I see it is, I don’t think its fair to prevent ourselves from something that could have “potentially” worked, just because we are scared of what the alternative outcome might be. So my advice is; take the risk…but be wise and use your head. Don’t over do it… Too many times in life we loose out on potentially beautiful things because we are too scared to “fail” or “loose”. This is coming from someone who knows exactly what it means for things to have failed in such situations.

  10. marvel

    July 20, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    it was terrible…

  11. Me

    July 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I am currently doing it. We were dating for 5yrs before we became colleagues. Now we work in the same company but we keep everything hush hush. You won’t even know we are dating. However it’s hard seeing someone you love everyday, but you can’t really talk to the person or be affectionate. Infact it’s frustrating! But this is just another hurdle in life, we have to keep on moving. Eventually people will know and i’ll just have to deal with it 🙂

  12. Elohor

    July 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Just keep ’em separate. Work life, Private life. No crime in falling in love with someone in the office. Just remain professional in the office, and get mushed up outside the office. Even if anything goes wrong, your reputation is still intact in the office, and others outside the office will take it that its one of those relationships that went sour. #GossipDies

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