Valentine’s Day is coming and that means there may be romance in the air at your workplace.
Yet, dating someone at work can be costly. If you don’t behave properly, an office romance can cause conflict and negatively impact your career. Here are 7 guidelines to help you and your significant other share a copier by day and a bedroom by night without hurting your professional image:
1. Keep the relationship private. Your coworkers do not need to know the details of your relationship. At some point, as your romance becomes serious and marriage is on the horizon, your coworkers should be informed – before they receive the wedding invitation!
2. Your boss shouldn’t be your Valentine. Relationships are tricky enough without having your boss or subordinate as your Valentine. If you are dating your boss, have your reporting relationship changed. Also, before you start dating, find out if your company has any HR policies about romance in the office.
3. Don’t let your guard down. It’s easy to let romance take over on Valentine’s Day. Displaying signed cards, balloons, flowers, Teddy bears, etc. may let colleagues know about your love interest, or make them very curious about who is sending you all these items.
4. Do not discuss your relationship on any social media sites. No posting information or photos on Facebook or sending tweets about it. You never know who will see them.
5. No physical contact in the office. Do I really have to say this? No romantic displays in the office! No secret kissing, caressing, hand-holding or sex in the office. This includes your behavior at office parties.
6. Maintain your other relationships. Don’t stop socializing with your colleagues. Stay involved with your network.
7. If the relationship fails, be professional and adult about it. Even if you have been jilted and the relationship ends badly, you cannot vent your negative feelings in public. This is one of the drawbacks of office relationships – they sometimes don’t work out, but you have to continue to see or work with the person. No matter how you feel, you must continue to interact with him or her in a courteous manner.