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Should I Date my Co-Worker?

Friday, 01 Apr 2011 12:02 PM

Many relationships develop in the workplace which is not surprising due to the amount of time most spend at work. Some think this is not a smart career move as they prefer to keep work separate from their private life. Others feel it is a way to keep work exciting and somewhere you are eager to be. If you find yourself in a situation where you are considering dating someone at work, there are some things you need to consider first.

The first thing you should do is check company policy concerning relationships between employees. Some companies discourage fraternizing while others don't maintain a policy. Know where your company falls in this spectrum. If your company is very strict about this, you may be required to report your relationship to the human resources department. Some companies take this a step further and may require you to move to a new position before you begin dating your co-worker.

If the developing relationship involves a subordinate, care must be taken. Not only does this often lead to complications, it may also create tension in the workplace. Other employees may believe your relationship gives the subordinate an unfair advantage in the workplace. If this happens, your careers can be damaged.

When relationships develop between employees who work in different departments, there tends to be less friction where other employees are concerned. This type of situation allows you to maintain a separation between your work and personal life. In addition, if the relationship sours, you are less likely to encounter each other on a regular basis.

Not all workplace relationships go bad though. Some progress to a more intimate stage. When this happens, you need to remember public displays of affection are not appreciated in the office. Keep these limited to times you are away from work. If you engage in these types of displays, be aware that your professional image may suffer. The same is true if you are having a disagreement. Your office is not the place to air any grievances. Keep this type of stuff at home.

Although your company may not have a policy concerning employee relationships, use common sense. Don't allow your relationship to interfere with work. It never hurts to inform your manager of the developing relationship. By doing so, you protect both yourself and the company from sexual misconduct allegations. If you notice your relationship is creating tension among other employees, you need to pay attention to this. Don't allow your relationship to create problems where none exist. Dating a co-worker is right for many people, but only you can determine if you fall into this category.

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