SHOULD I DATE MY BOSS, COLLEAGUE OR CLIENT?
Love can blossom and thrive in any condition, hence relationships happen everywhere and between all types of people including in the workplace between employees, employers and even their clients. We spend more time at work than in any other place and this time is either spent with an employer, co-employee or clients. It is not unusual to start developing feelings and likeness for people that we spend a great deal of time with – who have seen us at our best and our worst.
Some companies have policies that limit or restrain their staff from developing any form of emotional attachment while still in active employment.
The scope of office romance in this discussion does not extend to flings, friends with benefits or extramarital affairs. We do not encourage immoral affairs, in whatever guise. The context of this discussion is limited to the consideration of a romantic relationship between two consenting adults who have a professional connection, either as co-employees, superior/subordinate or service provider/client.
It is pertinent to also draw a major line between office romance and workplace sexual harassment. We advise that you do not tolerate any form of harassment in the name of having a relationship with your employer, co-employee or client. Workplace sexual harassment is not gender based as a man can also be at the receiving end.
In considering whether to engage in office romance, the parties must also consider the eventual end of their relationship and how it will affect them in the office. If the relationship were to end in a breakup, will they still be happy to see each other the next day and participate in office activities with no love lost?
We conducted an online survey among young professionals and entrepreneurs (male and female) in their 20’s. The participants answered various questions that revealed their inclinations towards having a relationship with someone at work.
25% of our respondents have been in a romantic relationship with their professional colleague while 75% haven’t been in such a relationship. For those who haven’t been in such a relationship, 38% were open to being in one, while 38% are convinced that they cannot be in such form of relationship. The remaining 24% were undecided.
For those who have been in a workplace relationship, we discovered that respondents were more disposed to dating their co-employees, rather than clients and employer.
We further asked the respondents if the relationship affected the professional atmosphere at the office in any way. While 25% responded affirmatively, the remaining 75% posited that the romantic relationship did not have any adverse effect on the professional atmosphere of their office.
From our survey we discovered that out of 16 of such relationships, 11 ended in a breakup, 3 became friends afterwards and only 2 ended in marriage. It is deducible that an office relationship is likely to end up in a breakup if not handled carefully, hence the reason why one must not make the decision lightly.
If you do fall in love and decide to engage in a romantic relationship with your professional partners, we advise that you consider the following:
Photo Credit: acceleratetv.com
- Be in it for the right reasons: People get into relationships for different reasons, we do not advice that you enter into it for pecuniary gains such as promotion, salary increase, better working conditions, easy access to the boss or client. The relationship is likely to end when the benefits enjoy cease to flow. You should also make sure that your feelings for each other are not only due to reasons such as mutual dislike for your boss; share a cubicle at work; partners on a specific project etc. These are temporary.
- Be sure: We are aware that nobody can be certain of everything, but to a degree, be sure that the relationship is what you want to do and what is best for you and your overall life goals at that point. Don’t jump into a relationship with someone at work. Give it some thoughts. Give it time too. Be sure!
- Don’t let it affect work: it goes without saying that you should avoid mixing business with pleasure. There should be a boundary between your professional relationship and your romantic relationship. Most company that have anti-dating policies, believe that it is impossible for romantic relationship not to affect workplace productivity. Because they are a business, they wouldn’t want anything to get in the way of their profits – including 2 lovers.
- Avoid PDA’s: there should be a limit to your public display of affection. As there is time for everything, there is also a place for everything. A brainstorming session in the office is not the best avenue to reassure your romantic other of how much you love him/her.
- Tell your Boss: As soon as the relationship becomes serious and both parties are committed to its sustenance, one of the parties should inform the boss (except the Boss is the romantic partner of course). You don’t want your boss to hear from the grapevine. It also helps your boss in making staff decisions, not to put the both in any awkward position at work.
- Plan your (his/her) exit: is it really possible for the relationship not to affect the professionalism of the office, especially if you are not your own Boss? It is advisable for both of you to meet and decide on who will stay in the office and who will leave, in the event that you are not able to manage both fronts effectively. Start scouting the jobs ad, get a new job and reduce the chances of mixing business with pleasure. You don’t have to leave immediately, but just have a plan.
The choice to either date your boss, colleague or client is totally yours after you have considered the pros and cons. We wish you all the best in your profession and love life.