An office might not seem the most ideal place for romance. But then, it's no secret that it's still a great place to meet new people and even find love.
In fact, office romances are common practice. Most professionals spend more time at office than anywhere else and that doesn't leave much time for socialising. It's only natural that you find yourself attracted to someone you work with closely day in and day out and go out with on weekends. Not surprisingly, relationships with co-workers can be tempting and sometimes unavoidable. At times emotions - and hormones - do get the best of you.
But getting involved with your crush, who also happens to be your boss, co-worker or subordinate, can be tricky territory. What makes it all the more taxing is the fact that the fine prints of many a company contracts say a little something about office romance.
That said, without recommending that you indulge in an office romance, for the sake of your job, follow these simple set of rules on how to date at work. Pay attention.
Read: Six signs that show man, woman can't be 'just friends'
Be sure: Before you make a move, do a background check and decide if it's worth your while - and potentially your future at the job. So you like this girl and think she's been giving you the eye across the corridor. Or are certain this cute guy winked at you at an office get together last week. Oops, you're actually mistaken. She/ he's told the HR about your secret suggestive emails or an inappropriate pass you made the other day. And now your boss wants to see you. Ouch!
Be discreet: Even if the whole office saw you dirty dancing at an office party or holding hands by the water cooler, it doesn't mean you'll be leaning all over each other's desk. Just think twice before fondling publically and keep the public display of affection to a polite minimum. Remember, you don't want your co-workers annoyed (or even grossed out). Nor do you want your boss raising an eyebrow. Beware.
Tread carefully: No matter how hard you try at keeping an office relationship a secret, you always get caught. And it's not entirely a good thing - not only is your emotional well-being at stake, but so is your professional reputation. Say a definite no to flirty emails. It's likely your company can access you emails anyway, so be cautious. Mixing business with pleasure has its dangers. More importantly, imagine the humiliation if you break up or worse are publically dumped. Awkward.
Make sure you're the only one: If you're going to risk your career, friends and livelihood, then make sure it's worth it. If you know you're not the first office conquest, steer clear. If you don't know, give it time. Subtle flirting will allow you to test the waters, maintain your professionalism and keep an air of mystery between you and your object of desire.
Be prepared: Always remember, while office dating is not necessarily illegal, many companies' have policies against it. So if you start seeing someone from work, make sure you've checked your offices' policy vis-à-vis dating on job.
Get involved with someone who isn't single: You're on the road to disaster if you get romantically involved with someone who is already in a relationship. You run the risk of his/her girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband turning up at work and creating enough drama to make one of you quit the job, and of course the relationship.
Become anti-social: Hurrying in together to office every morning, sneaking off for lunch together, barely speaking with anyone else and leaving quietly after work - a quite couple, with eyes only for each other, is actually a boring couple. Of course, you can't seem to have enough of each other, but try keeping your relationship, work and social lives a little separate. People are watching.
Involve too many people: An inescapable fact about workplaces, whether you like it or not, is that they're gossip-driven - everyone is into everyone else's business. And you don't want to become the Brad-Ange or Ranbir-Katrina of office. Although this fame will inevitably last a week, till the next piece of gossip starts doing the rounds. Even then, save the gossip-mongers some fodder and keep your private life private. Thanks to office gossip, should your boss discover you're preoccupied with your relationship and not your job, you might also lose out on that promotion.
Have sex in office: Obviously. The thrill of being intimate in the office during the day, after hours and even when others aren't looking can be very exciting. But this can land you in some serious mess. Resist the temptation. You're not fooling anyone when you and a co-worker retreat into an empty meeting room or close your office door for a 'working lunch'. Please, save the extra-curricular activities for the bedroom. You'll have a whole lot less to answer for.
Watch your appearance a little too much: If you don't want colleagues to suspect your motives and wish to avoid the nasty comments, keep your look understated. It only takes a bit more lipstick and strong cologne for people to start talking. Just because you have a date planned up after work, doesn't mean the entire office needs to know about it.