There’s no couple space in the workplace
According to RSVP, 28 per cent of us find lurve at work. Community newspaper group Quest ran the story along with a warning from a relationship psychologist not to have sex in the office.
Do people really not know that sex in the office is a dismissible offence? Really?
Other advice included not dating the boss or having a public barney at work with your co-worker turned partner. All pretty obvious stuff but as they say, commonsense is not that common.
There is nothing new in finding romance at work. In fact, before Internet dating sites like RSVP were invented, the Friday night workplace drinks were a common hunting ground for action.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with dating a colleague. We spend so much time at work it really isn’t surprising people find they’re simpatico with someone they see five days a week.
However, I think a few rules are in order to minimise the ewww factor for colleagues.
Single file please
At work, there is no couple space. You need to self regulate because bosses find this stuff awkward to manage and who can blame them?
I wrote a story a while back about how managers should tackle office romance issues. The case histories included a manager needing to have a quiet and awkward word with a couple who commandeered a meeting room to hold a domestic. Another manager told me of having to talk to a couple that held hands during an All Staff meeting. And there was the official complaints that arose after a woman sat on her boyfriend’s lap in the break out room at lunch time feeding him surrounded by horrified co workers.
If you really cannot keep your stuff to yourself, one of you should get a new job.
Don’t over share – actually, don’t share
When we develop work friendships we tend to share stuff about our personal lives including the irritating habits of a beloved, their health issues or some awfully embarrassing event that happened to them.
And it’s not just women who talk. I have met pretty much all my best male buddies at work and just like my female friends they share info about the women or men they date especially when the end is nigh – stuff that doesn’t portray their soon to be ex-partner in a positive light.
Knowing stuff about a third party is just a fact of life in a friendship but when that third party is sitting across the pod from you – nah, it’s not right.
I see in mummy blogger land it is common to talk about a husband disguised only as “the shed builder” or “Mr bikie boots” but I don’t think we should see this as the new boundary of domestic discretion.
Even in out of work social circles, I don’t want to know personal details about one half of a couple that would mortify said person. I certainly don’t want to have that knowledge about anyone I work with.
You need to also be careful when disclosing information about yourself to work colleagues if that info automatically reveals something about the person you are dating.
Date outside the team
Relationships between people of a similar level in different departments or in different divisions of a company should not be a problem.
However, when people are in the same team or sitting in the same pod it can just be uncomfortable. Squabbles, domestic updates or a couple creating a power block will tick off colleagues.
When to go public
If you are too quick to reveal your new romance and it all goes wrong then you might get a little inkling of what it is like to be a celebrity. You’ve been dumped and everyone knows it.
Is it just me or is three months are bit of a milestone? A bit like the old fashion work probation, three months just seems to be the time when people either break up or become a real couple. You’ll have your own definition but a single, drunken encounter after the Christmas party should not be it. Even when you are ready to go public, no big announcement is required. Just tell that person at work who can’t keep anything to themselves and let the news filter out.
Sometimes people never know about a work couple. It’s rare, but if this is you, congratulations.
Who you choose to date should be no one’s business – especially not your work colleagues. Don’t make it everyone’s business. Definitely don’t make it a disciplinary offence.
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