Monday, July 10, 2023

The Do’s and Don’ts of An Office Romance

Because so many people spend most of their time in the workplace, it is understandable how some individuals find pleasure and excitement in the office.

Photo by Edmond Dantès

According to studies done in the UK, one in three people has had a romantic relationship with a colleague, and 28 percent of working women say they have had sex in the workplace.


However, secret trysts in the boardroom and chance encounters in the lift (elevator) can bring despair and intrigue to your working day.


Whether you are already romantically involved at work, or just thinking about it, here is how to be ten steps ahead of heartache, embarrassment, and job loss.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Leave him if he is married. You will win very little support for your relationship and you can risk his wife/girlfriend turning up at the office with a large tin of paint for your car. Relationship psychotherapist Phillip Hodson says: 'It's not a crime to fancy someone, but when there are families or other halves involved, you must think of the consequences.'


Flirt discreetly. Discretion is the key to a successful office romance. Brushing past someone or a stolen glance over the photocopier is far more enticing than draping your body over his desk. Remember, people are watching. Subtle flirting allows you to maintain your professionalism and keep an air of mystery between you and your object of desire.


Anticipate responses. Misreading the signals can be catastrophic. Is he smiling at you, or does he smile at everyone? Be aware that many people put on a 'friendly' mask at work. You risk enormous embarrassment and possibly your job if you proposition the boss and he does not know who you are. Do the groundwork. If you think he is interested, build up a friendship. It will improve your chances for a long-term relationship.

Photo by Thirdman   

Decide whether to confide in colleagues - If you do not want to be a regular feature of office gossip, it might be best to tell a few close colleagues about your romance. That way people lose the intrigue and friends will not feel excluded. However, workplace relationships can incite envy.


Think carefully about sex in the workplace. It is all part of the package of an office romance, but if you do not want your cloakroom exploits broadcast at the Christmas party, look out for security cameras. It is better to save the passion for after-hours.


Watch your appearance. Do not try too hard to catch his attention. It only takes a bit more lipstick and a slightly shorter skirt for people to start chatting. If you do not want colleagues to suspect your motives and to avoid malicious comments, keep your look discreet.


Be careful with e-mails. Hit the wrong key and the entire building will know how you like your strawberries and whipped cream. It is likely that your company can access your e-mails, therefore, be cautious.


Beware of company law. Although there are no specific laws that prevent office romances, your company might have its own policy.


Richard Isham, an employment lawyer at Wedlake Bell Associates, says, 'Office romances are usually frowned upon because of the issue of confidentiality. For instance, a company would be worried if the head of IT was in a relationship with another employee. Important security information could be transferred during pillow talk. Allegations of misconduct can be made.'

Firms could also argue that office relationships encroach on company time and disrupt the office environment. Some employers will expect you to change departments. Read your contract thoroughly.'


Ask him to marry you. According to research, half of all workplace romances result in marriage. Try not to seem too eager, though. It is wise at least to ask him out before you ask him down the aisle.

Photo by Ron Lach

Make sure you are the only one. Phillip Hodson says, 'With any office romance', you have all your eggs in one basket; you are very vulnerable.'


If you are going to risk your career, friends, and livelihood, then make sure he is worth it. If you know you are not the first office conquest, steer clear.


Worse, if you did not know, give yourself time to cool down. Do not sit there plotting a Lorena Bobbit type of revenge, concurrently weeping uncontrollably. Talk about it after work with friends or family.


Would you engage in an office romance? Please leave your comments or opinions below.

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