Some think that dating a coworker is completely off limits while others think it’s fine. However, there is one thing we can all agree on. If you’re going to date your coworker, there are some rules that you should follow.
These guidelines will help you remain professional at work while making sure you don’t offend anyone and still keep your job performance up. By following these 10 rules, you’ll protect your relationship and your image at work.
Stick to These Rules When Dating Your Coworker
If you’ve asked yourself the right questions and decided to go ahead and date your coworker, that’s great! However, there are a few things you should do to make sure it goes smoothly. Create some rules and boundaries together to make sure that you can start a relationship without negatively impacting either of your careers. Here are some of the rules we think are important when dating a coworker.
1. Know Your Company’s Policy on Dating
The most important part of dating at work is maintaining your employment. You don’t want to break any company policies around dating. Make sure that you know what the company policy is (often found in your employee handbook) so that you can follow the guidelines and ensure you won’t get in trouble for your relationship.
If your company does have dating policies, they often will include who you can date and if you need to disclose your relationship to Human Resources. If you choose to break some of the rules, just know that it can end badly for both of you if you’re caught.
2. Agree to Keep Things Professional At Work
The worst thing you can do is to start acting inappropriately at work. You need to make sure that you can both agree to keeping things professional while you’re at work. If you both aren’t on the same page, it can lead to embarrassment and conflict between the two of you. So make sure you both agree to the same ground rules and have the same expectations of how you’ll act at work.
3. Avoid PDA
Avoid public displays of affection (PDA) at work. This includes things like kissing, hugging, and holding hands. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can make others feel uncomfortable. The #metoo movement has shown how widespread sexual harrassment is and you don’t want to put others in situations where they feel uncomfortable at work.
No one wants to see their coworkers getting touchy-feely at work. Your boss may see it as a sign that you aren’t taking your job seriously if you’re acting casually enough to canoodle at work. The best practice is to avoid touching each other at all at work. This even includes on your lunch break when you’re still at the office or out with coworkers.
4. Keep Your Relationship Private
It’s best to keep your relationship private to avoid becoming the topic of workplace gossip. In some cases, you can keep the fact that you’re dating your coworker completely secret. Not only is this kind of fun, but it keeps your business private and will save you some grief.
You don’t have to be secretive about your relationship, though. Although it’s best to keep details about your relationship private at work. Your other coworkers don’t need to hear about your disagreements or other juicy details about your relationship. Keep those to yourself to avoid drama, gossip, and getting too personal.
5. Make a Plan In Case Things Don’t Work Out
We hope that your relationship lasts and you don’t need to deal with breaking up with your coworker. You should be prepared for that outcome though. A lot of relationships end and you need a plan for what would happen if you and your coworker broke up.
This should be part of the discussion you have where you both agree to maintain a level of professionalism at work. If you are fighting or breaking up, you should act professionally and respectfully to each other. If that doesn’t happen, you can have big problems. So, know what you’d do if the relationship ends.
In some cases you would just proceed with business as usual. In others, one of you might be able to switch departments or roles to create more space between you. After all, there is always going to be some level of awkwardness when working with an ex.
6. Maintain Your Work Ethic
Your work ethic should remain the same as before. If anything, you might want to try to be even better at your job since you don’t want your coworkers or boss to think that you’re slacking off because of your relationship. Don’t start shirking your work responsibilities and doing things like going to talk to your significant other during work time frequently.
You don’t want to give your supervisor any reason to be upset about your relationship. If you can keep up your productivity at work and continue to do a great job, then they won’t have anything to complain about.
7. No Showing Favoritism
You should avoid showing favoritism towards your partner at work. This can be difficult if you’re in a management position and your partner is one of your employees. However, it’s important to maintain a level of fairness and impartiality in the workplace. If you don’t, other coworkers will be resentful and it can ruin both of your reputations.
So, no giving preferential treatment to who you’re dating. You can’t give them a better schedule, pick only their ideas for projects, or do them any favors that aren’t based on their merit. In fact, you might have to do the opposite and not choose them for things or give them a good schedule just to make it clear to others that you aren’t picking favorites.
8. Don’t Let Your Relationship Affect Your Work Decisions
You might feel uncomfortable disagreeing with your partner at work. However, you should be able to respect each other enough professionally to go about business as usual. If you have a better idea during a meeting, speak up. Or if you disagree with something, you should say something.
Don’t hold back professionally just to protect their ego. This isn’t fair for either of you and it can stunt your career. This includes things like not applying for positions or working on special projects that your partner might be interested in doing. You should be able to encourage each other even if that means one of you doesn’t get the promotion, position, etc.
9. Keep Your Work and Personal Lives Separate
It’s best not to discuss personal things at work in front of other coworkers. This creates an unnecessary level of familiarity between you and can make others feel like they’re intruding on your relationship. You should keep the personal stuff at home.
Stick to professional conversations at work. Any communication you have during work hours should be about the work you’re doing. This will keep your coworkers from feeling alienated and the details of your personal life can be kept private.
10. Be Careful About What You Post on Social Media
If you are friends with coworkers on social media or don’t have a private account, you should be careful about what you post. This is for the same reasons as keeping your personal lives separate. Don’t post things about your personal life and relationship that you don’t want people from work knowing.
It’s best if you’re able to keep people from work off of your social accounts. That way you don’t need to worry as much. You can also create a private account for only close friends and family that you do want to share things with.
Dating a coworker can be tricky, but if you follow these guidelines, it can be done without jeopardizing your job or making things awkward at work. Just remember to remain professional, keep doing a great job at work, and keep details about your relationship private. If you do all of these things, you should be able to date your coworker without causing problems at work.
If you’re wondering how to approach your coworker for a date in the first place, check out this article.