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Ooh La La: How To Manage Your Office Relationship

Given the amount of time the average professional spends on the job, it is inevitable that many people will find themselves involved in a romantic office relationship. Dating in general is complicated and adding in the close quarters of an office can make personal relationships even trickier to navigate. The following tips will help you manage your office relationship in the best way for your specific circumstances.

Know the Dating Rules

The first step in properly managing a romantic relationship in the office is to know the interoffice dating rules and policies your company has put into place. Every company approaches romance in the workplace slightly differently, so do not assume that the rules are the same from one job to another. Human resources is usually the best place to find out whether dating a coworker is allowed and if there are any steps you and your romantic interest need to take in terms of disclosing your relationship to superiors. Many companies allow interoffice relationships with the condition that the relationship is documented, as a way of avoiding potential legal issues should the relationship sour. Unless you are willing to risk your job for a date with a coworker, always learn and follow your company’s relationship rules.

Be Professional about Your Relationship

Discretion and professionalism go a long way toward effectively managing an office relationship. While at work, you and your romantic partner should make an effort to keep personal matters separate from job related concerns. Remember that your coworkers and superiors are in the office to work, as are you and your romantic interest, and personal drama can quickly become a distraction. Avoid encouraging gossip by keeping public displays of affection to a minimum and waiting until after work hours to hash out any disputes present in the relationship.

Know How to End Your Inter-Office Relationship

Less than a quarter of office relationships result in serious or long term commitments, which means you need to know how to end the relationship without ruining the office atmosphere. In the event your office romance comes to an end while you are still working together, the best option is to have a calm conversation about ending the relationship gracefully. You will still need to see one another every day at work, which can be uncomfortable for everyone involved even in the best of break-up scenarios. Go the extra mile to keep the workplace free of unnecessary gossip or other personal distractions by focusing on your work and job performance. Over time, working in the same office as your former boyfriend or girlfriend will become less of an issue.

Office relationships are common and understandable, considering the amount of time the average working professional devotes to their job. Before you embark on an office romance, figure out if the relationship is even allowed by your company’s human resources polices. Remember to keep personal issues separate from the workplace and have a practical outlook on the possible end of the relationship. By following these steps, you can manage your office relationship in a sensitive and thoughtful manner.

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Carl is an expert in human resource management. He understands how to handle employee conflicts such as interoffice relationships. He works for Motivo Performance Group in Houston, Texas.