But they happen all the time, and when they do, there are three possible outcomes: The relationship turns sour and your reputation and career take a beating; it ends, but you're both mature and cordial and don't let the breakup affect your work; or A survey by Career Builder last year revealed that nearly 40% of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a coworker, and almost one-third of office relationships result in marriage. We are getting married in two months.) It's up to you to figure out whether pursuing an office relationship is worth the possible consequences, good and bad. My situation was unique because we were already a couple before we started working together — but generally that isn't the case, and Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," suggests you try being friends in-and-outside the office before you make any moves.
My answer to all three: "Nope — because we followed the rules." The truth is, office romances are tricky and generally not recommended.
While some companies are lax when it comes to relationships outside of work, others strictly prohibit off-hours fraternization between employees.
In an era when sexual harassment is a real concern for organizations, the notion of two employees dating each other does have potential for some tricky policy questions.
" Those are questions I'm frequently asked when I tell people the story of my office romance.
Before you risk hurting your reputation at work, find out if this person is someone you'd want to spend weekends with. People either don't care, will think it's obnoxious or inappropriate, or will get jealous. Once you have a sense that this might have a future, talk to your partner and decide how and when you want to disclose your relationships to your colleagues.
As a relationship becomes more serious, oftentimes one person will decide to leave the employer completely, because the more involved you are, the greater likelihood of the relationship interfering with your job.
"That's why so many companies have policies against nepotism, which applies to married couples and relatives," says Taylor.If you are going to have a dating policy that allows employees to engage in a romantic relationship, it is essential to communicate what behaviors are appropriate for their interactions at the workplace during work hours.Avoid the potential risk of sexual harassment litigation by either prohibiting supervisors or managers from dating their direct reports or implement a policy in which when a relationship blossoms, the direct report switches to a different supervisor.No one wants to hear about how a co-worker leaves his socks on the floor, or other more personal details.While dating is a concern to human resources departments, few companies have actually instituted policies regarding romantic relationships between employees."Add to that two lovers fighting over doing dishes in the next cube and you have one unhappy coworker, who you may catch sauntering to HR." Also, it's entirely unprofessional to complain about your personal relationships at work, whether you're dating a colleague or not. But try your hardest not to let your disagreements with your partner affect the decisions you make or how your treat others at work. "Spend your time as if you are not dating this person," advises Taylor. Check the company handbook to find out if there are any policies related to interoffice relationships. "Employees are generally encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment or events that create a hostile work environment," says Taylor.