Is office romance ever okay?

Studies show that office romance is a reality, so how do you manage it appropriately?

Nothing seems to divide workers quite like office romance. While some believe that workplace relationships spell disaster for professionalism, others understand that the length of time we spend at work means the line between business and pleasure will inevitably blur.

Either way, office romances do and will always occur – studies have shown that at any one time 11 per cent of Australian workers are romantically involved with a colleague, while US studies have found a third of all relationships begin in the office.

But while falling in love with a workmate is easy, navigating an office romance is rife with obstacles. Here are some ways to get around them.

Privacy matters

Although it’s tempting to broadcast your new affair to the world, it’s best to keep it under wraps until you know it’s watertight. By being discreet in the beginning, you’ll save the highs and lows of a new relationship from becoming fodder for office gossip – a fact that can save you much embarrassment if your affair dissolves down the track.

Maintain your professionalism

If you can’t resist the urge to sneak out on coffee breaks with your new flame, you might be entering a danger zone. Focusing on your job at work and conducting your personal life after hours is the best way to avoid accusations of preferential treatment or nepotism. If you can’t manage this, it’s worth considering swapping departments or even changing jobs. Sometimes, taking a dramatic course of action is best for giving both your relationship and career a fighting chance.

Tell the truth

While it’s important to be discreet, it’s also critical to avoid lying and sneaking around. Deceiving your colleagues and managers can create negative vibes in the office while affecting your professional credibility in the long run.

Negotiating an office romance can be a minefield, but it gets easier if you apply a little caution, tact and control. Have you ever been involved in an office romance? What did you learn from it?

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