Office romances are generally considered off-limits. Ever hear the phrase “don’t dip your pen in the company ink”? A survey conducted by Workplace Options reveals this view is heavily influenced by the generation you talk to. Approximately 71 percent of millennials feel workplace romances are a good thing, with 84 percent willing to engage in one. In contrast, only 29 percent of baby boomers are willing to take the risk. It’s harder to make friends and connections once you’re out of school, says The New York Times, but pursuing a convenient office romance requires careful consideration of the pros and cons.
The Downfalls of Office Romance
If the breakup gets nasty, your workplace turns into a hostile environment. This is particularly true if you work in the same department, or one of you holds a position of authority over the other. Avoid this situation by dating outside your direct department and avoiding relationships with people who supervisor you. You don’t want to put your job in jeopardy because you broke up with the boss, and you also don’t want to be passed up for promotions because of a brief fling early on in your career. Thing about your long term career goals before you take the plunge.
You may create an uncomfortable work environment for other employees even if the relationship goes well. Consider when it’s appropriate to show affection. For example, it’s one thing to have flowers delivered on Valentine’s Day, a birthday or as a get well gesture. It’s another to kiss, touch and flirt. Public displays of affection and sharing too much personal information put the relationship on display. Stay professional at all times when you’re in the workplace and maintain a solid boundary between your home and work activities.
The Benefits of Workplace Relationships
One unexpected benefit of a workplace relationship is that 30 percent of these romances lead to marriage, according to Career Builder. You already share a career in common with your potential partner, and it’s likely you share hobbies and interests related to your career. If nothing else, you see how he or she acts on a day-to-day basis.
You also end up looking forward to the office grind more. The relationship helps boost your productivity and overall morale, bringing a positive influence into the office. A happy employee tends to be more creative and innovative with their work, helping the company as a whole. HR Communication finds that employee retention is increased when couples work within the same company.