How To Handle Romantic Relationships in the Office

Posted on February 9, 2015

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it was a good time to discuss romantic relationships in the office. Although these are usually frowned upon – they do happen. Every so often, you’ll learn about a husband and wife duo who met at work and this does make you think twice about whether or not these workplace romances are acceptable. With Valentine’s Day in mind, I put together some guidelines on how to handle romantic relationships that happen in the office:

  •    Interns Are Off-Limits. Most interns are not covered by sexual harassment laws in the workplace. The lines are already blurry with interns – don’t make them worse. Remember, an internship is a short timeframe. Internships usually last 8-12 weeks. If you have a romantic connection with an intern in the office, don’t explore it until that student’s internship with the company has officially ended.
  •    Think About an Exit Strategy. Here’s the deal. You have a romantic connection with someone at work – you probably see them in a professional capacity every single day. What will you do should the relationship not work out? How will you handle your interactions with this person? I suggest thinking this through before entering into a workplace relationship.
  •    Keep the Kissing, Flirting, and Touching Outside of the Office. Just because you are experiencing feelings for someone at work or dating someone at work doesn’t mean you should flaunt it around the office. Maintain your sense of professionalism at work and keep all of the romantic gestures for your personal time.
  •    Don’t Get the Office Involved in Your Drama. Everyone enjoys some good old-fashioned workplace gossip. People will already be talking about your relationship. Let people say what they are going to say – don’t add any fuel to the fire. Decide early that you will talk about your relationship issues with your friends who do not work with you. Don’t bring any relationship drama with a co-worker into the office.
  •    Understand Your Company Policy. Some companies are very strict about workplace relationships – others can actually encourage them. Make sure you are aware of your workplace policy and highly consider that before entering a workplace relationship. Have a conversation with the person you are dating and decide as a team how you will handle in the office. It will be important that you are on the same page.
  •    Put Your Head Down and Do Your Work. One of the reasons companies discourage workplace relationships is because they can be a distraction for everyone involved. Show your company that you are going to put your head down and focus on your work and that you will use your personal time to further your relationship.
  •    Communicate On Your Personal Devices. Remember, your work computer, laptop, tablet, and phone are most-likely property of your company – meaning they can check your correspondence at anytime they want. They could log into your computer and check your instant message conversations and everything else. If you are communicating with your co-worker in a romantic way – do it on your own devices.