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Is It OK to Date a Coworker?

There two coworkers found love. Should you date a coworker?

Hi Joan-

I’ve got a great-looking co-worker who I’m starting to spend more time in and out of the office with. I want to see if there’s anything there, but I know because we’re co-workers thinks can get awkward. How do I work this out?  –Jack

Finding love in a place that you spend a lot of time is a mixed blessing for exactly that reason.  You’re logging major hours together. You get to observe each other under a lot of different circumstances. Plus, without the romantic overtones of traditional dating, there’s a lot less pressure for things to move faster than they should.

If you’re considering dating someone you work with, you should proceed with caution. Don’t be so quick to jump into one without carefully thinking it through. In some cases, I think the workplace relationship is a big no-no.

If the person you like is your boss or someone who reports directly to you, there are just too many complicating factors that can get in the way of a genuine connection. If it’s feeling like love, you should figure out how to switch department or consider looking for a new job all together.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a direct reporting relationship, and it’s safe to say the other person feels the same way, go ahead and take a chance.  With that said, here are a couple of things to consider:

1. Keep it professional at work.
Your workplace probably monitors your email. Keep the tone professional when corresponding with someone who is not only your co-worker but someone you’re also dating. Also, avoid getting too touchy-feely or flirtatious while on the job. It can not only draw complaints from fellow co-workers, but it’s just not conducive to a professional work environment. Leave the playfulness for outside the job.

2. If things go south, consuming awkwardness can get in the way of your ambitions.
Thing carefully before you take the plunge into an office relationship.  Remember, if the relationship ends badly, you’ll still have to face that person at work. It’s hard to get over a breakup and move on when you are forced to see that person daily. On top of that, a split with a co-worker is bound to generate “office chatter” among your other co-workers. Gossip isn’t immune from the workforce. Remember that!

3. If you do decide to go for it, spare your company the headache and give HR the heads up.
There’s no need to try to keep your office relationship under wraps. The truth always comes out eventually. Plus, some companies have very strict rules about relationships with fellow employees. As a result, you should make sure you understand those boundaries as well as the possible consequences of crossing them.

Still confused about dating in the workplace? Watch and learn.

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