When I worked at K-Mart one summer, it was amazing how many employees were “dating” others at the store. I put dating in quotes because it ranged from hooking up, to side chicks and guys, to long term relationships. And, considering it was a typical large corporation, it’s a safe bet that someone, somewhere was having sex with the boss.
Dating a coworker in some capacity is very common.
While some people might be horrified at the thought of trying to date at work, it’s common for a couple of reasons. First, a lot of offices, warehouses, and other jobs have a lot of people in one place. Second, most people spend more waking hours at work than any other spot.
Put the same humans together in large groups 5 days a week, 8 hours a day and it’s not a shock that romance happens.
But, dating on the job isn’t always a good idea. It brings with it many pitfalls, especially if you’re a supervisor or if the relationship turns sour. If you’re confused about the topic, you’re not alone! This article will help you answer the complicated question: should you date a coworker?
Beware of Dating On The Job
You might think work is for watching YouTube videos, browsing Facebook, and flirting with the interns. However, your employer sees things differently. Not only are they paying you to do what they tell you and not socialize, but they don’t want any consequences from your on-the-job behavior.
It’s because trying to date on the job can create headaches and liability for your employer and you. If the attention you give is unwanted, or it’s wanted and the person decides to be vindictive later, you could be accused of sexual harassment. And, that could mean lawsuits for you and the business, and termination.
In addition, if you’re a supervisor, then dating a co-worker could get you in trouble if that person is a subordinate. This is especially the case if your company has policies against it. Many places do. Again, it’s considered sexual misconduct.
Finally, dating on the job can create a lot of unnecessary drama. If you’re sleeping with the secretary and you talk to the cute HR intern, the secretary might get upset and cause issues. And, if you have a break up with a co-worker, then watch out. The drama will be crazy.
Should You Date A Coworker?
For many people the answer will be “no.” Typical advice is “don’t shit where you eat” which means you don’t mess around with people at work. This is definitely the safest advice. If you’re a boss, your employer has strict rules, or you want to avoid unnecessary drama and headaches, don’t date anyone at work.
However, you can date at work if you’re careful. After all, especially if you work in a large organization, you could be excluding a lot of potential dates if you completely rule out coworkers.
If you want to date someone on the job, here are a few suggestions:
Date someone in a different department
If you work with someone on a daily basis, you’re much more likely to have drama, gossip, and potential conflict of interest. But, if someone is across the building or even in another location, you minimize the chances of trouble so long as you keep the romance to after work hours.
If you work with the person on a regular basis, at the very least, try not to get involved in the same projects and attempt to stay as separate as absolutely possible
Date an equal
While few businesses like when employees date, they typically don’t have policies prohibiting fellow coworkers from hooking up. But, most places strongly frown on bosses dating their subordinates and have policies prohibiting it. Even though younger women do like older men with power, don’t risk losing your cushy job over.
If you date someone at work, make sure it’s an equal. If you’re a regular employee, date another regular employee. If you’re a supervisor, date someone who is your same level of supervisor. If you get a promotion, realize that it could become hairy.
Follow the rules
Above all, you’ll have to follow the rules of your job about coworker relationships. When dating a coworker, make sure you’re in line with company policy. If you don’t, be prepared to be accused of sexual harassment or misconduct, disciplined, fired, and possibly lose unemployment compensation.
The best way to do this is to be familiar with company policy. Most employees are given company handbooks at hire. You’re usually asked sign that you’ve received the handbook and will abide by it. So, if you don’t know the policies and break them, they can point to your signature. So, ignorance isn’t an excuse.
Keep it after hours
The number one rule for dating a coworker is to keep your love life outside of the job. Don’t act romantic at the lunch table, don’t make goo goo eyes across the room, don’t share details about your sex life, and definitely don’t show PDA. Keep relationship drama outside of work at all costs. Keep it private and after hours and most people won’t care.
But, remember, that some companies have policies that hold after hours conduct against you if it’s unethical or inappropriate. So, don’t think your private life is necessarily safe if you’re choosing to date a coworker.
So, this article will help you answer the question about dating coworkers. It’s not an easy decision. But, if you fall in love, at least keep in mind the downsides.