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Should Office Romance be Banned? Dating in the Workplace is a Different Ball Game… Ready to Play?

Dating and romance in a work environment is a tough nut to crack. The dynamics of the workplace could be conducive to sustain a relationship based on similar interests, shared friendship networks and career objectives, but a relationship between a manager and a subordinate, for example, raises questions of a conflict of interest… and it is probably an unwritten rule that such liaisons are discouraged.

Here is some food for thought when maneuvering through an office romance or playing with the idea of dating a work colleague.

What are Common Problems With Office Romance?

Given the amount of time most employees spend at work, there are bound to be individuals who connect beyond the humdrum of work projects, some will become good friends, but others will develop romantic feelings for their co-workers.

However, this is not a simple task, the workplace is generally a place where different individuals with diverse backgrounds, skills and qualification work together to run a successful enterprise or organization. When personal emotions come into play that extend further than objective feelings about personal work relations, problems can arise.

What Do Employers Have to Say about Office Romance?

On About.com in an article titled “Tips About Dating, Sex and Romance in the Workplace”, Susan Healthfield mentions that in a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Workplace Romance Survey, employers cited the following as their issues with workplace romance: The possibility of sexual harassment claims, disharmony caused by relationships that go sour, the possibility of low morale among other staff members that are exposed and may disapprove of the relationship, and the risks associated with loss of productivity by dating co-workers and other staff.

Some Cons of Office Dating

It is long since schools and church facilities were the hub were people met, established romantic relationships and eventually affirmed their love through marriage. Nowadays, individuals meet in the workplace and this could be the beginning of a long friendship or relationship. Modesty aside, there are benefits to having the “object of your affection” while working on a project from start to finish, working together could just be that solid foundation required to establish a solid friendship before dating.

In an article on Workrelationships.com, written by Denise Kersten, called “Office Romances Can be Risky, Rewarding”, Kersten mentions some of the pros and cons. Some of the cons include the ensuing gossip, jealousy, and problems associated with having to work with a former partner after the break-up.

Pros of Office Romantic RelationshipsIn the abovementioned article by Kersten, some positive outcomes, resulting from dating a co-worker are mentioned, these include: the possibility that the work environment offers for social engagement to create shared networks/friends, the space to develop common ground as there is bound to be similair interests, and “working with someone before you start dating allows you to find out what he or she is really like in advance,” explains Kersten.

Sustaining a romantic relationship at work can be a complicated affair, it can also be thrilling. However, it is best to understand the company’s policy (if there is any) on romantic relationships between co-workers. After hedging your bets, it might be wise to not “dip your pen in the company ink!”