Romantic relations in an office environment are a situation that should be avoided at all costs. A couple breaking up can create an awkward situation for both people involved, especially having to interact with each other every day. An example of the many disadvantages of office dating include jealousy, breaking company policy, and tensions after a breakup.
Employers typically discourage people from engaging in sexual activity or beginning a relationship with someone else in the workplace. On occasion, it may actually violate a company policy, requiring a written agreement upon hire. In today’s economy, replacing a job is not as easy as it was in the past, so it should not be risked for a relationship that will likely dissolve over time.
One of the main reasons employers do not want to see relationships in the office is due to the inevitable distractions it will cause. Shifting focus from doing a good job will have a negative effect on performance, as well as involvement in contributing to the team. It is only a matter of time before others notice the overly friendly exchanges, or a complaint is filed against the people not doing their part.
The key to a healthy romance is appreciating the time spent with a partner. In the early stage, it may feel like it is hard to get enough of one another. A lot of time together may seem like an advantage, but the tables will quickly turn in the other direction. Dating a co-worker leaves very little opportunity to have time apart, which can cause the relationship to sour very quickly. Losing a sense of individuality and freedom by having someone around constantly does not lead to healthy habits.
Jealousy is a high risk in office dating, because it usually must be kept a secret. Maintaining a single status usually invites others to engage in casual flirting that will cause problems as the other person observes these actions. Having a public argument or expressing concerns can lead to legal trouble, or the possible loss of a job for both people. Another way that jealousy can strike in the workplace is friendships that develop with others in the same company. Under normal circumstances, a couple is usually invited to go out together. However, the secretive nature of a workplace romance leaves opportunity for one person to feel left out. They may not be comfortable with the blossoming friendships if they are not included.
A co-worker relationship that ends will be twice as hard as a normal breakup. Getting over someone is difficult when having to work with them as a part of a team. It will be difficult to set feeling aside to treat them as just another person at work. It is impossible to avoid someone in close quarters while getting over the heartbreak of a relationship gone bad. Tensions will mount having to see a former flame engaging in flirtation or simple friendships happily throughout the day. Quitting is not an option for most people, unless they have another job lined up to go to.
Although an office romance may seem like a fun advantage to earning a living, it is not worth the personal and professional risk involved. A relationship should not be a part of work, just as work does not have its place within the involvement of a couple. There are good reasons for policies preventing this type of behavior that benefit everyone involved in the health of a workplace.