Recently at a team meeting, we bantered about love finding you when you aren’t looking, which is true and romantic but what happens when love finds you at work? Navigating an office romance with someone who you get to see from 9am to 5pm (which isn’t really 8 hours if you work in corporate Nigeria) is dicey. While some might argue it’s great because you get to spend a lot of time with your significant other, there’s an overflowing list of cons. From brewing an unhealthy amount of time together to having to see them on your bad hair days, to being the focus of subtle office gossips, or the inability to even have a work crush in peace – it’s beyond crazy. If you ever find yourself in this situation, especially if it’s almost impossible to switch jobs, here are 9 tips to building and enjoying your office romance:
1. Don’t Do It!
I know this came up earlier but there’s a need to re-emphasize that dating a co-worker isn’t the most blissful option. Are streets really that rough that dating someone you work with seems like a good idea?
2. Commute to Work Separately
This might not be the best decision financially, considering how much money could be saved if you both share a ride, but I’ll like to think that it would limit the unhealthy amount of time you’re both spending together. You’re going to have access to this person all day at work, so at least create some time to miss them a little.
3. Work First, Romance Later
Receiving a flirty email at work is all fun and games until it’s not. With office romances, having clear conversations on the need to keep public displays of affection and love quarrels out of the office, will help you and your partner focus on your tasks and deliverables. I once listened to a married couple talk about working at a jointly owned business together. The woman had said, they would have the biggest quarrel at work, walk into the house and immediately kiss and cuddle like nothing happened, then get back to the office the next day and continue the fight like they had dual personalities – and I thought to myself, wow. Doesn’t that sound so fake and stressful?
4. Don’t Let Work Be the Centre of Most of Your Conversations
This one isn’t as easy, but it’s helpful. Working in the same office often means you know the same set of people and may even be on similar work projects. The long-term effect of working together all-day and bantering about work during non-office hours could center your whole lives around work, and that doesn’t sound so good for you or your relationship. It’s tempting but you’ve got to try.
5. Confirm Your Company’s Employee Dating Policy
A lot of companies frown at dating in the workplace so confirming the company’s policy early on would help save you both any trouble. And don’t speak to HR until you’re both certain about taking the next step as a couple.
6. If One of You Manages the Other, Please Just Don’t Date
No one wants to hear any stories about how you fell in love with your boss, this isn’t Wattpad sis. Trying to date your boss/manager isn’t worth the headache. Imagine a situation were you underperform on a task and are unable to get fair feedback because of love; Or worse, you do get fair feedback but you can’t draw the line between a teaching moment and the thought that he/she doesn’t love you anymore. What then happens if you both break up? You’ll quit your job? Over unrealistic love? In this economy?
7. Don’t Have Sex At Work
I promise you; your co-workers will know–they know everything. And try not to share the nitty-gritty details about your relationship to just anyone, because you’ll be in for a a shock when HR knows the real reason why you went on “sick leave” last month.
8. Be Discreet
Let’s face it, sooner or later everyone will find out. But as much as you can, try to keep your hands off each other and keep a low dating profile at work. Everyone lives for office gossip and drama. Honestly, I too would love to know if Femi and Anita are back together after the numerous cheating rumours. However, being the center of office gossip, eventually plays back as a disadvantage. It makes people feel more accessible to you and gives off the wrong impression.
9. Create Your Exit Plan
Sorry to break it you but dating a co-worker isn’t easy or sustainable. While you both navigate what that might look like for you now, it’s very advisable for one (or both) of you to begin to craft an exit plan to work somewhere else, which circles us back to our first point – Don’t do it.
Have you ever dated someone in your workplace?