Workplace is a fantastic place to meet an individual and start a romantic relationship. You shouldn’t be paying heed to finicky ninnies who tell you that there’s something unprofessional or improper about dating someone at your office. You could be eyeing that cute girl across that hall or you might be attracted towards the girl who sits in the cube next to you. Let us at Merrchant help you mix business with pleasure. Here’s how you can date a co-worker.

We know there’s a general rule that goes around the office when you want to date a co-worker: DON’T DO IT. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants. You have absolutely nothing to worry about as long as you two conduct yourself professionally. Having said that it is obvious that you can’t fight like wild cats and annoy your colleagues and neither can you play footsie under the conference room table. However, if you keep it decent, there is no good reason for you to not date a co-worker.

The only person you shouldn’t be thinking about dating is your boss or anyone who reports to you or vice versa. Pheromones don’t stop flying just because you’re in a wood-paneled conference room!

Be Wise
Be Wise

However, don’t just saunter to your co-worker and pour your heart out, as it might cost you your job. Keep in mind the following points before you confess your feelings:

  1. Make sure you get involved with the right person

Getting involved with the wrong person might not only hurt your personal reputation but also cost you your job. Getting involved with a superior or someone who is married is going to be a mistake. A huge mistake.

Make sure you get involved with the right person
Make sure you get involved with the right person
  1. Think about the worst-case scenario

Plan out how you two will handle things if it doesn’t work out. You don’t want to have an uncomfortable and an awkward work environment after a nasty break up so sit down with your partner and talk about it.

Think about the worst-case scenario
Think about the worst-case scenario
  1. Familiarize yourself with the company policy

Certain offices have a strict policy against inter-office dating, for obvious reasons, of course. Every organization is different and different office dynamics may either make it easy or hard for you to be with your crush. Here’s some sage advice: think carefully before exploring your options and crossing any lines because you might have your job at stake.

Familiarize yourself with the company policy
Familiarize yourself with the company policy
  1. Remember that during office hours, work should be your #1 priority

Set some ground rules before you begin dating. Make sure you establish clear rules with your partner and can adhere to them. Set your priorities straight, and be specific about the time you two will be able to spend together during work hours.

Work should be your #1 priority
Work should be your #1 priority

While it might not be the wisest choice to date a co-worker but then sometimes love just happens without your say. As with any situation, it is wise to consider the advantages and disadvantages of dating a co-worker.

Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages
Consider the Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

  1. You two have a lot in common

You will never have to worry about boring your partner to death with office gossip or work talk because you’ll have your partner in crime right by your side! Both of you can team up and obsess about the same work issues rather than wasting time on giving them the entire background story.

You two have a lot in common
You two have a lot in common
  1. Get to spend more Time together

If you and your partner work together, chances are you will not only carpool together but also grab meals with each other and take advantage of those extra moments that you would have otherwise missed.

You two get more time to spend together
You two get more time to spend together
  1. You two already know each other (to a certain extent)

Your work environment allows you to observe your co-workers and actually get to know them as a person. You end up learnings things about each other before you jump into a relationship. Now isn’t that better than going blind?

You two already know each other
You two already know each other
  1. Forbidden romance is *always* a turn on

It might make things steamier to have a secret, forbidden relationship at work. However, there should be more to it than that– and if it lasts (we sincerely hope it does) you will eventually have to tell others.

Forbidden romance is *always* a turn on
Forbidden romance is *always* a turn on

Disadvantages:

  1. You two might have A LOT in common

It is a marvelous feeling when your partner really gets what you’re trying to say but with time things might get monotonous and dull. You might even secretly start longing for a little time apart and have some space.

You two might have A LOT in common
You two might have A LOT in common
  1. Get to spend too much time together

While you might enjoy sitting down and sharing your meal with your partner, but you might feel differently once you get used to it. All the carpooling, work talk, and having them around all the time will frizzle out the spark between you two.

You will begin to miss the days when you could sit by yourself and eat a peaceful meal. You might even pine for a meal with your friends but then you don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings, do you?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and so does a little bit of space and independence!

Get to spend too much time together
Get to spend too much time together
  1. Work disputes will be nightmarish

Yes, you adore your partner and try to agree with everything they say or do but sometimes you just cannot agree with them and work disputes will complicate your personal relationship. Your work problems will soon become your relationship problems and things will get ugly.

Work disputes will be nightmarish
Work disputes will be nightmarish
  1. What if things end up going south?

There is absolutely no way to guarantee that you two would very least be cordial co-workers after you two break up. Even if you do manage to conduct yourselves professionally it would be torturous to run into them every now and then when all you want to do is stay as far as possible.

Be prepared to face the consequences
Be prepared to face the consequences
  1. You two might split up because of the competition

Depending on how closely you two work together, you two will end up competing for the same promotions or projects. It will not only cause serious problems in your relationship but it could also lead you two part ways in order to grow professionally.

You two might split up because of the competition
You two might split up because of the competition

Related Article: Are You a Picky Dater?

Regardless of the advantages and disadvantages, most individuals decide to give their office romance a shot. If that happens to be the case with you, then you should consider the following rules of dating your co-worker:

Learn the rules of dating your co-worker
Learn the rules of dating your co-worker
  1. Consider your priorities

Decide what’s more important to you- office romance or your dream job and career? Don’t take the professional opportunity of an excellent job that comes with a satisfying and a promising career for granted.

Consider your priorities
Consider your priorities

2. Put on your thinking cap

Sleep on it (not literally) what we mean is- think about it. You might be tempted to jump in bed with your crush at the first opportunity but we advise you to take baby steps and not rush into it.

Get to know your partner as an individual before you two cross the line. Make sure you enter this delicate situation who is actually worth it and you know a bit more about their integrity and grit.

Put on your thinking cap
Put on your thinking cap

3. Real Talk

Are you ready to face the repercussions of a messy break-up? Will you be able to survive the break up when you know you have to face them every day at work? What if you were to switch departments, or worse, jobs?

Talk it out with your partner before you begin dating. Avoid the office romance if you think that the stakes are too high. However, if you are ready to face all the consequences because you believe your partner is worth it, then you should definitely go for it.

Talk before you begin dating
Talk before you begin dating

4. Spreadsheets vs. bedsheets

It might seem impossible not to bring stress or work home with you especially when you and your partner work together. Make some rules like focusing solely on each other after you’re out of the office or not discussing office matters at home.

Set up boundaries so that you can you can build a happy and a healthy relationship. Keep it alive by talking about, well, anything but work. Devote the time and attention your partner needs and see them as your S.O rather than your co-worker when you aren’t at the office.

Spreadsheets vs. bedsheets
Spreadsheets vs. bedsheets

5. Be focused

Don’t spend your time on the clock while making googly eyes across the conference room table because you’re not being paid to date. This isn’t a high school romance, get ready to work your socks off. Learn how to strike a work-life balance.

Be focused
Be focused

6. Notify your superiors

Notifying your superiors or just informing your boss seems like a good idea if you want to steer clear of trouble. Keeping them informed will not only show respect but that you two are mature enough to deal with the situation. Save your boss the trivial details and just assure your superiors that this relationship won’t affect your work. Learn how to keep your relationship and work balanced.

Notify your superiors
Notify your superiors

7. Don’t earn a reputation with your co-workers

If things go south and you break up with your partner then do not, we repeat DO NOT date another one. You will go from the guy who dated “that girl” to the guy who only dates girls from office in no time. Warning: Things will get very awkward for you and for all those around you.

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck. And your integrity is worth more than your career.”

-Ryan Freitas

(Director of Product Design at Facebook)

Don’t earn a reputation with your co-workers

8. Be Discreet

What happens between you and your partner should stay between the two of you. Don’t involve your co-workers in your squabbles. Refrain from asking them to take sides as it only makes things awkward and you two will end up looking like fools.

Be Discreet
Be Discreet

9. Don’t depend on them for professional growth

Respect and support your partner but don’t expect them to do you any professional favors or rely on them for professional growth. Asking your significant other to help you score a new role or a position or a coveted account or even just a praise from your boss is simply wrong. Moreover, it is much more fulfilling to succeed on your own merit. People will encourage and appreciate you more if you’ve earned them on your own.

10. Maintain independent hobbies and friendships

Sooner or later working with your boo and seeing them all the time will make things monotonous and therefore it will be necessary for both of you to spend some time apart. To remain sane and have a healthy relationship make sure both of you have your own set of hobbies and friends. Do your own thing. Don’t be entirely dependent on your boo. See the girls or take Spanish classes- anything that helps you maintain your identity. This will also give you a chance to share different experiences and connect on a deeper level.

Maintain independent hobbies and friendships
Maintain independent hobbies and friendships

11. Know the potential legal pitfalls

A messy break up would get horrific in no time if it lands you in legal trouble. The sensitivities of the workforce are subjective and varied so there’s always a risk of offending someone. A single complaint to HR for showing preferential treatment, or PDA, or using words of endearment in public might at the very least trigger an investigation.

Know the potential legal pitfalls
Know the potential legal pitfalls

If you’re going to do it, might as well do it right. Here are the do’s and don’ts of dating your co-worker:

Remember what you should and shouldn't do
Remember what you should and shouldn’t do

DO’s

  1. Take it slow

People usually act differently at work than they do in their personal life. Try being friends with them and see if you like your partner’s in-and-outside office personalities.

Establish a friendship
Establish a friendship
  1. Keep things quiet early on

Don’t spam everyone’s email with the news after your first date. People will either think it’s too inappropriate or obnoxious or not care at all. But you might catch some unwanted attention if you end up making people jealous of you and an ugly office war will soon begin.

Don’t disclose your relationship until both of you believe that this relationship actually has a future.

Keep things quiet early on
Keep things quiet early on
  1. Get on the same page

Disclosing your relationship isn’t as easy as it sounds. Discuss it with your partner before going public. Also, establish some general ground rules and come up with a plan for how you will manage to keep it professional and stay within the written or written rules.

Get on the same page
Get on the same page
  1. Limit your dating pool to your peers

Avoid hooking up with your superiors and limit your dating pool to the individuals at your organizational level. Many individuals feel that office romances are unacceptable if it involves co-workers at different levels and may see an inter-office relationship as a means for the inferior partner to professionally get ahead.

Limit your dating pool to your peers
Limit your dating pool to your peers
  1. Stay professional

Conduct yourself with nothing but utmost decency while you’re at work. It’s an office and not high school where you can steal kisses while you’re in the break room. Stay professional at all times.

Stay professional
Stay professional
  1. Go easy on flirtatious emails and texts

Be careful what you email or text each other not just because you might accidentally end up sending it to the entire office, but also because it might be used as evidence in a legal case in termination or sexual harassment.

Go easy on flirtatious emails and texts
Go easy on flirtatious emails and texts
  1. Be respectful and sensitive to others

Stop yourself from talking about your relationship with your colleagues as some people find it uncomfortable or distracting. Save it for your close friends or family. You will not only mitigate gossip but also earn the respect of your coworkers for keeping your personal matters to yourself.

  1. Take your relationship public

If you have cleared it with HR and you two are blissfully happy together then there isn’t any reason for you to not take your relationship public.

Be respectful and sensitive to others
Be respectful and sensitive to others
  1. Plan and strategize

According to relationship experts, office romances require more communication and they suggest being more open with your partner. Plan and strategize. Let them know what you think and how you feel about them and make sure you know the risks associated with office romance and consequences you might have to face. Assure your partner that no matter what happens you will tackle them together.

Plan and strategize
Plan and strategize

DON’Ts:

  1. Don’t be too eager to drop your pants

We are all well aware of what happens when sex happens too early in a relationship: one of you will mistake that intimate moment to mean something more and heartbreak soon ensues. Be careful before getting too involved in something too quickly because you have your personal as well as professional life to safeguard. Make sure you have a bond that goes beyond the physical first.

Don’t be too eager to drop your pants
Don’t be too eager to drop your pants
  1. Talk trash

Not all romances will end up with a happy ever after but that does not give you the right to badmouth your partner. Know that under no circumstances should you ever say anything negative about your partner to anyone- not before you start dating, not during your relationship and definitely not after your break up.

  1. Drag co-workers into your fights

Amy might be your soul sister/ BFF but involving her in your fights and asking her to pick sides is super awkward. Leave disagreements at home and save yourself and the others the embarrassment.

  1. Don’t tell

If you spill out details about your partner or your relationship, then you are beginning the rumor mill. If you both agree not to tell anyone, especially your coworkers, then you are minimizing your own damage and making sure you don’t end up being the office gossip.

Don't tell others
Don’t tell others
  1. PDA at work? Absolutely not.

Sure, grabbing a quickie and making out in the office is hot but you don’t want to raise eyebrows and HR to summon you for a one-on-one serious discussion. Believe it or not, your innocent co-workers actually have work to do than watch you two lovebirds canoodling.

PDA at work? Absolutely not.
PDA at work? Absolutely not.
  1. Date your boss

It is best to avoid relationships with those who supervise you or vice versa because they have direct decisions on things like your salary and employment status. Wise advice: don’t date your boss. Or your CEO. Or someone much higher up at your organization.

Don't date your boss
Don’t date your boss
  1. Treat your partner differently

You want to give your partner special treatment but also spoil them rotten but save that for later. When it comes to work, make sure you treat your partner just like you would treat any other co-worker.

Don't give your partner any special treatment
Don’t give your Partner any special treatment

Evaluate the pros and cons of getting involved with your co-worker and we sincerely hope your office fling becomes a real deal!

Related Article: Your Guide To Having a Happy Relationship.