Have you ever thought about dating a co-worker? While most companies advise strongly against office romances, sometimes true love still blooms in the workplace.
So what do you do if you think you've met your soulmate at work? It's tricky, but if you can communicate honestly with your partner and your employer and maintain boundaries in the office, you might be able to make it work — just don't take that as permission to use the office as your own personal casual dating pool.
If you simply must pursue your co-worker crush, here are seven expert tips for dating a fellow employee the right way.
Determine your motives
"Try to think objectively and ask yourself, 'Why am I interested in this person?' We get close to people during projects and initiatives. What will happen after the project ends? Do you have anything else in common?" – Liz D'Aloia, founder, HR Virtuoso
Check the rules first
"Many organizations have rules about dating colleagues [but] not because dating a colleague is a bad thing. You may share common interests and motivations and you may both love the organization. The rules exist to avoid any messiness that might arise when the relationship ends, when one of you gets promoted, or if one of you has access to information that should not be shared especially if it might benefit your partner unfairly." – Roy Cohen, career counselor and executive coach [Where Office Romances Blossom Most ]
Determine your place in the office
"Consider your work relationship — is the co-worker your superior? The answer may officially be no, but unofficially the answer may be yes. This may be the case if the co-worker is leading a work team, spearheading a project, or has more experience [or] seniority than you. These factors are important to consider because your comfort, confidence and productivity may all be adversely affected once you’re involved personally." – Laura MacLeod, creator, From the Inside Out Project
Know when to disclose your relationship
"I advise forthright disclosure when it becomes a regular dating relationship [usually around] two to three months. Letting supervisors or HR know will allow for open and honest dialogue. Depending on the company’s posture, a resolution can generally be forged. Many companies will work to move one of the parties if there is a direct or indirect reporting relationship in a work group. Full disclosure will keep everyone out of harm's way." – Leesa Schipani, HR practice leader, training and development, KardasLarson
Date outside of your department
"Dating someone who reports to you can lead to ugly litigious situations if a breakup occurs. There's less danger if you date someone in a different department, but the best policy is to maintain a professional distance in the office." – Lynda Spiegel, HR professional and founder, Rising Star Resumes
"[Dating a co-worker] requires employees to have good boundaries. Co-workers don't like to see kissing at the water cooler or baby talk between two adults. They also hate it when both people disappear together for hours, air their personal business at work, or have a public breakup followed by trash talk and the silent treatment." – Steve Albrecht, HR and security consulting professional
Maintain your individuality
"When you work with your significant other, especially if you're on the same team, or at least in the same department, it can be easy to automatically support his or her ideas, or agree with his or her input. But in the office there's more to the team than just you two. It's important to maintain your separate voices, especially when it's in the best interest of the company. Treat each other with the courtesy you would any colleague, but know it's okay to disagree. Just leave it at the office when the day is over." – Laurenne Resnik, founder, Bloom2Bloom