Dating in the workplace is inevitable. After all, you're with these people for an extended period of time every day -- it happens. We've all dated a coworker (or 14).
While dating in the workplace is no longer the taboo it once was, there are a few things to keep in mind before dating a coworker and flaming the fires of an office romance.
First, before innocent flirting leads to a committed relationship, find out what your companies stance upon dating in the workplace is. Some companies allow it. Others don't. Find out precisely what your company says about workplace dating. The Human Resources Department or the Employee Handbook should be able to clarify any questions or concerns you have about dating a coworker.
Learn what the company policy is regarding a workplace relationship breakup (hey, we want to think positively, but breakups DO happen). Some companies have policies in place to handle such a situation. It may be company policy that if an office romance ends, and the involved parties cannot get along, one person must resign. Or be transferred to a different department.
While it might SEEM like a good idea, dating a boss (or your subordinate) can be a highly problematic situation. There are valid concerns due to the position of power of the supervisor and potential retaliation if the romance sours. Dating a boss can elicit favoritism complaints from coworkers, if special favors are given by the boss to his or her significant other. These favors may or may not even exist -- but a complaint can be registered once a relationship is disclosed. Dating a boss (or vice versa) may make other coworkers incredibly uncomfortable, should the relationship be too intimate (or too turbulent) at work.
Bosses who have a relationship with a subordinate may have a conflict of interest -- a romance may make it hard to properly discipline or evaluate the performance of their employee/significant other. This creates a significant conflict of interest and can create a ton of tension and other workplace problems.
Dating in the workplace is becoming more and more common, but make sure before you enter into an office romance, you're armed with the facts.
What have your experiences with office romances been?
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