I’d like to go ahead and open this can of worms, because it has affected or will affect each and every one of us at one point in our lives, so it’s best to get it out in the open and discuss some pros and cons.
The bottom line is, workplace relationships are inevitable. The average office worker spends about 50 hours a week in the office. That’s a long time. That may actually surpass the time spent at home, and when you spend that amount of time around people of the opposite sex, attraction is bound to occur.
Analysts and relationship experts have stated many times that workplace relationships can have a hugely detrimental effect, both on the concerned individuals and the rest of the office. This is why many businesses and corporations have pretty strict interoffice relationship bans, or at the least guidelines to follow, in order to maintain a high level of professionalism and avoid any impact on office morale or social dynamics.
But if you do fall in love with Ben from Accounts, just what kind of implications is that going to have on the office, on your career and on Ben’s career?
There are many hazards to be considered; from the moment you become involved with your colleague right up to actually maintaining that relationship in a working environment. Do you keep it under wraps or come clean to your co-workers? Will the fact that you may have different professional statuses be a problem?
With balance of power comes many potential problems. If your lover has a powerful job in the company, you may find that extremely attractive at first – having a powerful partner can be an aphrodisiac. But if they are a direct superior and the relationship morphs into something more, you can guarantee there will be trouble ahead as you try to come to terms with a power imbalance in your relationship outside of the bedroom.
Let’s check out the pros and cons of workplace relationships.
- Being in a new relationship will put a spring in your step and give you a sense of renewed energy and dynamism. This will inevitably spill over into your office and infect your colleagues. The feeling of positivity brought on by this romance has a ripple effect and can generally boost office morale.
You may be very distracted by this development in your life, and this distraction can easily affect your work, your relationship with your other colleagues and your level of concentration at work. This could lead to suspicion, and in some cases a formal warning.
- When a person works with the object of their heart’s desire, it may be a natural reaction to want to work harder to impress them and make them proud. This natural desire can lead to increased productivity, which is an all round pro for the office and your career.
An interoffice relationship can give off the wrong impression to senior management, perhaps suggesting that there has been an indiscretion or lack of professionalism. Many companies feel that interoffice relationships are detrimental to office dynamics and have a negative impact on reputation and productivity levels.
- Let’s be honest, if you’re embarking upon a secret liaison with a co-worker and no one knows, it’s pretty hot stuff. You have to be discreet, which makes the fire of passion burn so much stronger. It feels like forbidden fruit and the thrill of enjoying secret passionate trysts in the photocopy room is the stuff great romances are made of. Ok, maybe not. Erotic fiction then.
If you decide to let others know you are together, you are inviting others in. Everyone knows your business. You can try your best to keep your private life private, but someone always lets something slip or walks in on a conversation. When everyone knows your business, they can feel they have free right to interfere.
- You are entering into a relationship with someone you know quite well in a different context to someone you’ve met in a bar or on the train. You get to see them in ‘work mode’, you learn how they problem solve, how they react to good or bad news, how they handle disappointment, etc.. You get a good clear idea of who they are before you start dating them.
Working with someone you’re also involved with can put a massive strain on the relationship. You spend so much time together, that you don’t get that separation time that makes you miss them, and it can feel like you are entirely lacking that essential personal space. You may start to crave time away, which is never a good sign in the first few months.
- You have a lot in common already, you can share your professional aspirations, help each other achieve goals, boost each others confidence and be professional inspirations to each other.
Work and personal life become blurred and can affect your ability to separate business and pleasure which can inevitably cause some conflict – and I’m sure you wouldn’t want your boss thinking you’re more interested in copy room trysts than your work.
Let us not forget that unless marriage and eternal happiness occur, most relationships come to an end. Break ups are painful and private.
If you break up, it makes it tremendously hard to move on when you have to see the other person every day. Point one also comes into play as everyone will know you’ve broken up, may interfere if there’s a pick-a-side situation and this will cause an atmosphere in the office that makes it unpleasant for everyone. It may also make you feel uncomfortable sharing an office space with someone who has seen you in French knickers.
It is up to you to weigh up the pros and cons (that may not be applicable to every workplace relationship of course) and decide whether you can make it work or not.
It’s my personal belief that your working life and personal life should remain separate. When boundaries are blurred and you end up associating your love life with your professional life, things can get too complicated. Love and life are complicated enough as it is, right?
Author Bio: Susannah Perez is a passionate fashion blogger with a penchant for fine lingerie and a flair for writing about relationships. She enjoys a close collaboration with Luxury French Lingerie.