You spend a ton of time at work and it’s one of your largest social circles. So, it’s no surprise that you’ve found yourself crushing on your coworker. The question is, should you act on your feelings for your love interest? Or should you brush them off to reduce the risk of ruining your job?
There are a few things to consider before making a move. For instance, what’s your company’s policy on dating coworkers? Additionally, think about how dating might affect your work dynamic. Will it make things awkward if things don’t work out? We’re here to answer all of your questions about starting a romantic relationship with someone you work with so you can decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Things to Ask Before Dating Your Coworker
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are at work and you don’t want to throw that away on a new relationship. So, how do you go about dating a coworker without it negatively affecting your job? You should ask the following questions before diving in.
What is Your Company’s Dating Policy?
The first step is to check your company’s policy on dating in the workplace. After all, the most important thing when dating a coworker is that it does not cause harm to your employment. You can generally find the company policy on dating in your employee handbook. Some companies are fine with it while others forbid it. It usually makes a difference if your coworker is at a different level than you are. Companies tend to not want management dating lower level employees and vice versa because of potential conflicts.
If your company does allow employees to date, make sure you understand any rules they have in place regarding this. For example, some companies require employees to disclose their relationships to a manager or human resources. If you learn the policies your company has and are willing to follow them …. or break them, then you can go ahead with the relationship.
Are You Okay With Coworkers Knowing About Your Personal Life?
Depending on where you work and your level of current professionalism, you might be okay with coworkers knowing a bit about your personal life. However, if you’ve worked hard at maintaining your privacy, a work romance might reveal more personal information than you’d like.
If the person you’re thinking about dating shares information about their love life to others at work then you are automatically going to be out in the open. You’ll want to make sure that you discuss boundaries if you do decide to proceed with the relationship. If your new partner is really open, they might want to share details about you that you want to keep hidden as well as any fights or issues that come up in your relationship. If you aren’t okay with the risk of some personal details coming into your work life, it might be best not to date anyone from work.
How Will Dating Your Coworker Affect Your Work?
You will also want to think about how dating might affect your work performance. Could it make it harder to collaborate on projects? Will you have to critique your significant other’s work or tell them what to do?
Even if the company allows you to date someone who directly reports to you or vice versa, it might not be a great idea. Think about what interactions you have with this person at work. Are they a direct report? Are you in charge of anything they do that might cause conflict? For example, you don’t want to have to evaluate the person you’re dating.
If you do the same job as the coworker you’re interested in, there are usually less complications. However, problems can still arise. It’s up to you to determine if dating this person would negatively impact your work life. If you see potential problems, evaluate them and determine if the relationship is worth the potential risks.
How Will Others See You?
Dating at work can impact how your coworkers and superiors see you. Your coworkers might think you’re dating someone from work because you want to get ahead. They may think you’ll use your position of power to help your partner or that you’ll get preferential treatment.
You need to be prepared for how others will see you if word gets out that you’re dating someone at work. You don’t want to miss out on that raise or other opportunities because your boss thinks you aren’t taking your job seriously anymore. The level of professionalism varies greatly from job to job so you’ll need to assess the situation yourself and think about how this relationship could affect the views of others.
Can You Keep it Professional?
Before you make a move, you should ask yourself if you and this coworker will be able to keep things professional at work. The last thing you want to do is get reprimanded for inappropriate behavior or make anyone else uncomfortable.
You’ll need to be extra careful about how you act and what you say around this person if you want to keep things professional. For example, you might need to avoid talking about personal topics, refrain from using intimate nicknames, and avoid public displays of affection.
If you decide to date a coworker, make sure that you both have an understanding of how you’ll behave at work. You both need to be clear about creating ground rules so you have a game plan of how work will go. If you don’t trust the other person to keep things professional, you might want to refrain from starting a relationship.
What If It Doesn’t Work Out?
We know it’s not fun to think about things not working out when you’re starting a relationship. However, this is really important if you are starting up something at work and you should be aware of all the possible outcomes. Breakups can get really ugly and you don’t want one to ruin your love life AND your career.
You’ll want to assess what it would look like if you broke up with this person or if they broke up with you. How often do you have to see them at work? Do you have to communicate with them regularly? Will you hear about their new relationships from other coworkers?
If you think you can handle the work dynamic if you broke up after dating then you can safely proceed with the relationship. However, if you aren’t sure how the person would act if broken up with, or if it would be too hard to see them all of the time, then you might reconsider.
How Often Would You See This Person?
Sure, the idea of seeing someone you like day in and day out might be nice. The reality is that you might get tired of spending too much time together. It’s a good idea to think about how much time you’d be spending with this person and if you think you’d need more space.
If you don’t work with or near each other that often, it wouldn’t really be much different from dating someone outside of work. However, if you’re spending a lot of the day together at work, are you going to want to hang out afterward? If they did something to annoy you last night, are you willing to work with them the whole next day? A lot of people don’t mind seeing their significant other all of the time, but if you’re a person that needs space, it’s something to think about.
As you can see, there are many things to consider before dating a coworker. Workplace relationships can be complicated. You’re combining your personal relationship and professional relationship, so there is a lot to think about. Some people recommend never dating someone you work with. We think true love is worth it! As long as you are comfortable with the risks, you can go ahead and start that workplace romance. Just be cautious and think things through so that you can continue enjoying your job and your new relationship.