6 Tips for Office Romance Etiquette

by Claire Valenty on May 11, 2010

in Business & Office Etiquette

business romance etiquette

It makes sense that you find the love of your life (or, at least want to hook up with someone) at work.  You spend most of your day surrounded by these people and probably share the same interests and a sense of camaraderie.  Relationships are bound to happen; even romantic ones.  However, it is important to follow certain guidelines of office romance etiquette.  Six tips for handling co-worker relationships are found below:

1)      Find out your company’s dating policy. Most companies realize that when people work closely together, feelings are bound to spring up.  Usually, it’s not dating that causes the issue, but, the more serious commitment of being engaged or married that causes some concern.  If you and your significant other are in completely unrelated lines of business within the company, you are probably safe, but, if you directly report to your partner, or there could be an opportunity for confidential company information to be shared between you that shouldn’t be, or a chance for coworkers to complain about favoritism, one of you might have to look for another job.

2)      Use discretion! Nothing shows your coworkers and bosses that you will be able to handle an office romance professionally by behaving appropriately.  This means no making out in your car during lunch, slapping each other on the butt when one of you walks by or making lewd or suggestive comments to each other.  Not only will doing these things make you look bad, but, companies are very concerned about sexual harassment claims these days.

3)      If you and your partner get into a fight, do not bring the drama into the workplace. Keeping your business and personal lives separate is integral! The same goes for if/when your office romance ends.  Some sexual harassment claims companies have to deal with stem from ex-lovers where one is bitter about the break up.  Behaving professionally at all times in the workplace will not only keep your company safe, but, it will ease the minds of your supervisors who might be concerned about the break up fall out, all the while keeping you on their good side!

4)      Do not stare down every guy/girl your partner talks to. People at work have to deal with other people at work!  Just because you guys met at work does not mean your partner is sizing up every other person they talk to at work as a potential date.  However, they say how you meet your partner is how you lose your partner, so, still keep an eye out!

5)      Do not date the office scoundrel! Yes, the bad boy image draws them in by the dozens.   You may think what you two have is “different”.  It’s not.  No “but’s”.  It’s not.  He will move on to the hot new temp secretary the second he’s had his way with you.  Then you will be seen as just another notch in the scoundrel’s bed post around the office.  Unfortunately, there is a double standard here.   Guys in the workplace can all hit up the office slut and there doesn’t seem to be any fall out.

6)      Do not date people who report to you. Do I really need to explain why this is an issue?  If I do, you’re not smart enough to have people reporting to you.

Does anyone out there have any other tips or horror stories in regards to office dating etiquette?

Photo: 123rf/Scott Griessel

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