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Love is In The Air: Here's How To Handle Romantic Relationships in The Office

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Romance is certainly a very important aspect of our lives, especially since there is a whole commercial holiday centred around it!

As teenagers, we had dreams of meeting our future significant others in certain scenarios such as at the bookstore, at a cafe or even at the train station. However, after we grew up, we learnt the hard way that life is just not like a movie and romance is more often than not, found in a more educational setting or at the workplace as we spend most of our waking hours there.

Office romantic relationships are more common than you think and according to a study done by Viking in 2019, 68% of their respondents have been involved in an office romance before while a study by Reboot in 2021, has revealed that 48% of their 4,000 participants will date a coworker.

Well, if you have been feeling some sparks with the person from across the cubicle or on your daily zoom call and you’re wondering whether you would want to pursue that relationship, then here are some tips for you. These tips will also be helpful if you are currently in a romantic relationship with a person from work. Here are our best tips:

Find out what is the company policy

The very first thing you should do when you feel the chemistry going on between you and a co-worker is not to dive into it but rather, to read up about the company’s policy on office romance. Some organisations take it very seriously and if ever found out, it might result in disciplinary action taken against you both or even getting dismissed in extreme cases. Hence, if there is a clause like that in the company’s policy, it might be prudent to reconsider pursuing the relationship as the both of you do not want it to affect your careers.

Analyse the relationship

Humans are wonderful creatures and certain scenarios together with a person can create strong emotions between the two of them. So, you would need to analyse the relationship between you and your co-worker and ask yourself whether this is just a short-term infatuation, a bond built over a mutual dislike at someone from the office or a fated meeting between two soulmates? In order to answer this question, think about whether this relationship will extend out of the office. Will they be compatible with you after hours and on weekends or is this just strictly a romance within office hours?

Draw a line between work and romance

The one rule to uphold at any time in an office romance is to draw a strict line between work and your love affair because you don’t want it to interfere with each other.

Your work is all yours and you need it to sustain yourself with, so don’t let that office romance distract you from your job and decrease your productivity. Also, there is a time and place for everything so don't indulge in public displays of affection at the workplace or argue at work as it could be deemed as unprofessional to do so and it most likely will make your coworkers uncomfortable. Office gossip can spread like wildfire and you don't want to generate negative feedback or impressions on your professionalism.

Adding to that, when you’re at the office, it's advisable not to present yourselves as a package (going for lunch together every day, sitting next to each other at meetings or just being unable to function as separate entities) as it can be prime material for the gossip mill. Even if the gossip might not be true, rumours spread fast and some colleagues might accuse one of you of being biased as the two of you are romantically involved. That brings us to our next point…

Do not get involved with someone who is of a higher position or a lower position

When you get into a romantic relationship with someone of a different seniority level than you, office politics will play a big part in the survivability of your relationship. This might affect the futures of both of you in the company as it could impact your movement within the organisation. So if you want to date within the company, find a person who you will not directly work with.

Go your separate ways

After spending some time with your other half, if you believe that they are the one, then one of you might need to find a job elsewhere as having this relationship continue at the workplace might affect your home life in the future.

Also, sometimes we can let romance cloud our view of the worst case scenario: What if the relationship doesn't work out - how will you handle those awkward moments you bump into each other at the canteen or when you have to collaborate on work projects especially when you have ended things on a sour note.

All in all, you have to be smart about this and not only think about short-term pleasures as it affects you in the long term. Think smart and love hard! 

Half the Sky's mission is to supply the tools that can give every woman the ability to build a successful career and be fully prepared for the future of work. So, that they can lead a healthy, prosperous and more balanced/blended lifestyle of their choosing.  By building your confidence, you’re setting foundations to empower yourself and your career.  The world is your oyster, and it starts with you. 

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