For exhibit and event professionals  

Your answers to “Can office romances work?”

February 9, 2015 By Editor

holding-hands-357283-300x200I’ve started dating a nice guy from another department in my company. We think we should keep it a secret because we don’t want anyone to think our relationship is affecting our jobs. I’ve asked everyone I know outside of work what they think and have gotten every answer under the sun. Does anyone know of this happening in their company? 

— Janine, Exhibits Manager

We got nearly every answer under the sun for this question. It’s funny how eager our readership became when the topic turned to romance in the workplace. It seems we’ve all thought about it at one time or another. Take a look below to discover what everyone had to say. Do you have advice of your own? Leave it in the comments section below!

No, absolutely no. The statistical chances that this office lover will be your one true soul mate are slim. Since the chances are greater that you will end the relationship sooner than later, it would be best not to put yourself in what you know will be the ultimate uncomfortable situation. Furthermore, relationships where the two are around each other constantly do not work. People need their space and need to be able to have a different life at work. Otherwise, your lover could be creeping on you any time of the day and you can’t truly be yourself.

Now, if you all work in totally separate departments and never see each other daily, I’d say that has a somewhat better chance. — Anna W., Project Manager

Is it happening in every office in America? Most definitely. Is it something you should be worried about. Absolutely not. First, take an honest look at what your relationship is to one another, as well as any potential conflicts of interest professionally. If it is something you see as a viable relationship, then feel no shame in making sure your HR department knows while letting a few close friends know up front. Just like the advice any top-notch PR firm would give you, being out in front of your own information is necessary, and ultimately dilutes any office gossip passing around the watercooler. I hope very much that this is a fairy tale in the making, and that the two of you continue to pursue your relationship with confidence. — Bobby B., Entrepreneur

Of course! It stands to reason that romances can start at the office – there’s already a lot of common interests and shared time. But it’s a bad idea to start a relationship by sneaking around. (After all, we’re grownups.) If everything works out between you two, then at best you’ve lied to your friends, coworkers and bosses – and at worst you’ve broken company trust and damaged your career. Meanwhile if your relationship craters, it’ll be nearly impossible to keep it from affecting your work. (After all, we’re only human.) If you want to date a coworker, do it on the up-and-up and be willing to accept the risks. — Valerie H., Exhibit Manager

My dad used to tell me you never want to “dip your pen in the company ink.” As someone who works in a culture where office relationships blossom in a blink of an eye, I have had the opportunity to experience firsthand, this going very well and going VERY bad. Ultimately, you need to weigh the pros and cons of your decision to continue your relationship with your co-worker. I.e. Are your emotional feelings overriding your rational decision making? Just because love is blind, doesn’t mean it should cause you to lose sight of your responsibilities. — Julie B., Marketing Associate

If nepotism isn’t part of an HR policy, neither of you are in a position to fire or directly influence the other’s position and you can keep it “professional” and get your jobs done well – even if the relationship doesn’t work – no need to hide it, though, no need to publicize it either. And, yes, I believe it happens everywhere. Love doesn’t care about the rules/boundaries of the office for it to happen. — Rebecca E., Human Resources

In general, I think it’s a Bad Idea Janine.

It makes sense.  When people spend that much time together or in the same place, there’s that commonality and familiarity.  They both understand each other’s worlds.  But it is also often the subject of unwanted gossip and office drama.  Personal lives and professional lives can, potentially, become confused.   I know a lot of companies have policies in place to restrict interoffice dating.

Having said that, I know couples that have started dating and made it work – usually when one of the moves to a different department or company at some point when the relationship became serious. — Jason Z., Director of Exhibits & Conferences

Unless there is a written document at work stating that employees' should not date, it is no ones business. As long as your relationship is kept professional while in the office, you should not worry about it and not care what other think. — Julia, Account Manager

First of all, there is no such thing as keeping the relationship a secret. There is body language, a quick glance that you are sure no one is aware of but is an obvious sign to everyone around you. If your company does not have a no fraternization policy? Are you both at the same level in the organization or is one of you several levels away from the other? Is there a supervisory relationship? Those circumstances can make the relationship a seem like a compromising situation. Unfortunately, any romantic relationship at work can cause issues. It can be a distraction or disruption but the most difficult issue could arise if the relationship goes sour. You may have even greater disruption or distraction so much so that it is difficult to be in the same workplace. Overall, there is a great deal to consider before entering into a relationship in the workplace. You need to weigh the risk against the perceived rewards. — Ellen L. De Rosa, Director of Human Resources, MC²


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