Nearly all of us have had a crush on one of our colleagues. Usually it’s harmless and doesn’t lead to anything, but if you find yourself falling for someone at work – and the feelings are reciprocated – it’s no secret that things can become messy in a hurry.
With Christmas parties around the corner, it’s the perfect time to shoot your shot with your work crush. But what’s the best way to navigate workplace romances while keeping everything appropriate?
Establish what both parties desire
Do you want to have a long-term committed relationship or just something that lasts briefly? Is it all about the thrills and no emotional connection or are you looking for someone you want to get to know further and more personally? Do you want your fellow work colleagues to know, or do you both want to keep the relationship secret?
Knowing the answers to some of these questions will help you not only navigate the relationship but will help you both work out whether or not you should continue it.
Talk to HR or check your work policy
You may find that the company you work for has a policy for office romances where certain behaviour is acceptable or not. Some companies also have a clear no dating policy. Once you’ve both worked out what type of relationship you have, finding out if it’s okay in your workplace is important, as sometimes office romances can lead to instant job terminations or tribunals even when they are consensual.
Keep personal relationship discussions at home
Even if they seem like positive conversations, keeping both positive and negative relationship talks for when you’re in private at home is important so you don’t disrupt the work environment.
Arguments within the workplace aren’t the greatest of places to actually talk things through and will often allow for space for you to stay within fight or flight mode for longer, as you’re having to juggle workplace expatiations and tasks too.
Avoid flirting too much in front of other work colleagues
It can be hard to hide those natural attractions and feelings, but forcing work colleagues to witness flirtatious behaviour not only puts them in an awkward position that they haven’t consented to, but it has also been shown to reduce work satisfaction and enjoyment for fellow colleagues.
There may be many reasons why colleagues may be uncomfortable witnessing fellow workmates flirting with each other and it can lead to these colleague connections not being as strong as before.
If the relationship ends, keep things professional
Making sure you are both prepared for if things don’t work out is important and understand that if you both have to continue to work together, you need to keep things professional.
If you can’t work together after a break-up, working out if it’d be better to change jobs or not is important to avoid unnecessary work upset and conflict.