Dating your colleague
From a social (and ethical) standpoint, consider people who are already attached to be off-limits — no exception.
“Co-workers and bosses do not react favorably to relationships between married people,” Heathfield says.
But, if your relationships tend to have a dramatic and contentious ending, you probably want to steer clear of dating a co-worker. You should exercise extra caution when deciding whether to get involved with someone at your office, Valbrune says.
Take the time to evaluate whether you are compatible. Determine if they seem aggressive, possessive or needy.
It’s tempting to date a co-worker, especially if you work long hours and spend more time with your colleagues than with your friends.
“There is something about constantly interacting with someone that creates kinship,” says Mirande Valbrune, an attorney and author of “You realize you get along and you make each other laugh, and you do all these things that make people interested in one another.” In fact, some employees report that dating a co-worker can go a long way in increasing job satisfaction.
“As long as the relationship does not fall into a prohibited liaison and is not creating a disruption to the work, there is no reason for HR to be involved,” says Valerie Keels, a member of the Special Expertise panel of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
“In my opinion, the only time these relationships should be reported to HR is when they break an organizational rule or if it’s creating a disruption to the individuals’ work.”Still, it comes down to your comfort level.
“Colleagues start with something huge in common, which is the work,” says Susan Heathfield, a management and organization development consultant.
“We hope that folks are transparent about it but don’t put pressure on employees to disclose that information,” says Julie Li, senior director of people operations at Namely.
In fact, most people don’t tell HR that they dating, even when their office policy requires disclosure. Nearly 50% said they don’t trust HR to keep their office romance a secret. Even if you’re peers, your work relationship might not be on equal footing.
“If they share a professional background, they may also share an understanding of the work demands and the organizational culture,” says Amy Nicole Baker, an associate professor of psychology at the University of New Haven.
“Workplace couples can also offer perspective and advice about professional and personal issues that arise with co-workers, because they share an understanding of the work context.”No surprise, then, that workplace romances — relationships that are consensual and not based on abuses of power — are no longer necessarily the illicit scandals they once were.