02 Oct 2019
Beginning a new relationship can be nerve-wracking for most, but if the person you’ve just started dating is also a colleague, you may encounter some challenges…..
Starting a relationship with someone at work can be a great thing! You’ve got an automatic ally, someone to support you when times are tough, and someone who understands enough about your role to be able to listen and respond well to any concerns you may have.
Also on the plus side, you get to find out about double the gossip!
There are, of course, some things about dating a colleague which may cause a few challenges for you personally, so you will need to be emotionally resilient to be able to deal with those challenges, if they come up.
Firstly though, if you think the relationship is going to blossom, or if you are dating someone in your management chain, then make sure you tell your employer so that any conflict of interest can be dealt with. Either approach your HR team, or talk to a relevant manager.
Your employer may not be too happy about the situation, so you need to be able to give an assurance that when you are at work, your professional role is your focus, and reiterate that you would not allow your relationship to affect how you behave and perform at work. You’ll probably be closely watched for quite a while once your relationship is common knowledge, so you need to make sure that you deliver on your promise to uphold the highest possible professional standards.
Colleagues can also be challenging! Regardless of who you are to the business, office gossip can really come into its own when two people start a new relationship. The best thing to do about office gossip is ignore it; don’t be drawn into conversations about your relationship or the gossip, and don’t start to get angry because people are talking about you - sadly, office gossip happens, whether you like it or not. In a work environment, the best thing you can do it rise above the nonsense, carry on with your work and take heart from the fact that you are doing nothing wrong.
A big concern for employers is where a relationship between colleagues comes to an end.
If that happens, how do you manage the working relationship going forward? How do you maintain a professional relationship with your ex? How do you deal with the gossip going round about why or how the relationship ended? All can be tricky things to handle, and all contribute to the reason employers aren’t always happy about co-workers falling in love. And if it all went pear-shaped for a potentially horrendous reason, how do they keep you apart in the workplace when you are supposed to be working together?
Have you had a workplace romance? Has it worked out or become a horror story?