Whether or not there are policies forbidding the act, office relationships/dating happens. Only make sure that while dating a co-worker you are not exchanging the relationship for your job/career.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to where and how you should meet someone you wish to spend the rest of your with, however dating a co-worker is generally not recommended - but it happens all the time. 

A survey by CareerBuilder revealed that nearly 40% of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a co-worker, and almost one-third of office relationships resulted in marriage, so dating a co-worker might not entirely be a bad idea after all.

The truth is, office romances are tricky and when it happens, there are three possible outcomes:

1)The relationship turns sour and your reputation and career is affected.

2)It ends with a mutual understanding and you're both mature and cordial so the break up does not affect work.
3)Things work out.

It's up to you to figure out whether pursuing an office relationship is worth the possible consequences, good and bad. If you decide it is, there are a few "rules" you'll want to follow to ensure things don't go awry. 

Here’s how to make sure pursuing love won’t cost you your career. 

1. Take it slow.

Take your time and build a solid friendship. Be friends both at work and outside work. People sometimes act differently at work than they do in their personal lives. Before you risk hurting your reputation at work, find out if this person is someone you'd want to spend weekends with.

2. Avoid Getting Involved with the Wrong Person

According to the CareerBuilder survey, 24% of intra-office relationships were with someone higher up in the organization. It’s not recommended for you to initiate a romance with your manager, or, likewise, with anyone who reports to you directly or indirectly.
If you’re a manager, you should be held to a higher standard, and avoid creating a climate where people are going to see bias whether there really is bias or not.
Relationships with your peers are generally more acceptable—assuming they’re unhitched.

3. Keep things quiet for a while.

No need to send a blast email with "the news" of you and your new relationship. People either don't care, will think it's obnoxious or inappropriate, or will get jealous.
Be discreet about the news. 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.
If the rumor mill goes into high gear, that might be the right time. If nobody seems to notice, there's no reason to share.

3. Get on the same page.

You and your new partner need to agree on some ground rules and come up with a plan for how you will keep it professional and stay within written or unwritten rules. What will be your plan 'B' if the heat is on from a supervisor, from gossip, or if things go awry?.

4. Stay professional at all times.

You may have the burden of overcompensating with professionalism and keeping an artificial distance, which can be an awkward strain.Be yourself and keep your personal lives out of work and business. Although it is better to overcompensate than to constantly test the limits of workplace etiquette while hoping for the best.

5. Be sensitive and respectful to others.

Focus on work and do your job — especially if you want to mitigate gossip. No one wants to hear about how deeply you're in love with each other or where you went last weekend or the fight you had in the car that morning. Save it for your family or friends outside work.
Talking about the relationship can be distracting or make colleagues feel uncomfortable, so don't do it.

6. Keep love quarrels out of the office.

Again — nobody wants or needs to know about what's happening with your love life. It's hard enough today to concentrate with open office spaces, a plethora of technology devices, frantic deadlines, multiple bosses, and so on. Add to that two lovers fighting over doing dishes and you have one unhappy coworker headed to the HRM to tender a report.
Also, it's entirely unprofessional to complain about your personal relationships at work, whether you're dating a colleague or not.

7. Don't let disagreements affect your work.

This may be one of the hardest rules to follow. What happens at home or in your personal life (no matter who you're dating) almost always affects your attitudes, which impacts your work — it's just a fact of life. But try your hardest not to let your disagreements with your partner affect the decisions you make or how your treat others at work.

8. Remain focused on your work.

Spend your time as if you are not dating this person. Don't get caught up in long conversations, two-hour lunches or emailing with your partner when you should be working on projects or preparing for meetings. Don't spend the whole day texting.

9. Know your formal policy

Check the company handbook to find out if there are any policies related to intra-office relationships.
Even if there are no explicit policies against it, find out how upper management feels about office romances. If they're common and happen in your workplace all the time, great. If not, maybe that's something to consider.

10. Know the potential legal pitfalls.

Employees are generally encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment or events that create a hostile work environment. Since the sensitivities of the workforce are varied and subjective, there's always a risk of offending someone. One complaint to HR showing preferential treatment, or using words of endearment in public will at the very least trigger an investigation.

11. Go easy on flirtatious texts and emails.

Be careful what you text or email to each other, not just because you could send it in error to another colleague — but also because it could ultimately be used as evidence in a legal case in termination or sexual harassment.

12. Consider what you'd want to do if things do work out.

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. This is something to think about early on and to keep in mind as you move forward in the relationship.

The bottom line is, you need to tread carefully. If, however, love happens to strike at work, don't make a concerted effort to fight it at any cost. Just know the risks.

Your decision not only affects you, but the other person, both your careers, and those around you. A word to the wise: If you take the leap, go into it with your eyes wide open. 

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About MaryJay's Blog

I believe love is a beautiful thing and everyone deserves to love and be loved. The contents of this blog is aimed at helping people become the right person so that they can find the right person. Enjoy!
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