Office Dating

When you consider that most people spend half their waking hours at work, it's not surprising that office dating is as common as it is. But is it a good idea? Before jumping into an office romance, consider these potential concerns.

Company Policy

Many companies have a policy against office dating. Experience has shown that when romance blooms in the office friendships are strained and productivity declines. Even if you think your relationship does not affect your work, going against company policy may get you in hot water.

The Loss of Teamwork

Office personnel are often members of a tight-knit organization that works together to get things done. When two members of an office are closer than the others, it sets them apart. The sense of working as a team is weakened.

Dating between employees also makes it hard for most people to keep focused on their work. Flirting, courtship and efforts to appear attractive take time and attention away from the project at hand. In such a setting there is often more gossip and socializing in the office. And those who are left out when others pair off may feel jealous and have hurt feelings.

Breaking Up

Suppose one person in an office romance wants out of the relationship? When cou-ples who work together break up, their professional relationship may be damaged to the point where their work suffers and one or both people seek work elsewhere.

Even if they don't break up, many couples find that the work setting forces them to spend more time together than they can handle, especially early in a relationship. They may quickly become irritable around each other.

Dating the Boss

When it comes to dating a supervisor, look out. This is a prescription for trouble. Your coworkers may feel that they won't get treated fairly when sparks are flying between you and the boss. The morale of the whole department can drop.

If you are a supervisor, beware of pursuing an employee under your supervision. You could face a sexual harassment charge.

If you decide to date someone at work, be aware of the pitfalls of office romances. And if you are experiencing serious work-related problems as a result of your relationship at the office, you may want to seek outside help. Counseling may help you sort out whether to break off the relationship or to find a new job.

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