Can your career survive an interoffice fling?
You only need to look at the popularity of online dating sites and apps to see how hard it is to meet a potential partner face to face nowadays. Office dating may seem like a good alternative, but can be a seriously risky business. 
Before you dive head first into the typing pool of love, here are some things to consider.
What’s your company policy?
Whether it’s banned, subject to restrictions or overlooked, it makes sense to research the company policy on interoffice relationships. Some come down hard on coworker couplings because of legal implications. You have the potential to go far in this company. Could your relationship jeopardise your career goals? 
Consider your motives
Injecting a little excitement into the predictable 9-5 by flirting can be thrilling, but if it’s the only reason you are eager to get to work every day, it sounds like you need to reassess your suitability for the role. Furthermore, If your job isn’t offering you sufficient challenges, a chat with your manager or HR department might be more productive than an ill-advised tryst. 
What started off as an entertaining diversion is also going to take up valuable time in your working day, and as you take your eye off the ball professionally, your productivity and prospects will suffer. 
Don’t overshare
Saucy selfies are never a good idea, and in the professional arena, they are even more perilous. Resist the urge to expose yourself to Iain from IT regardless of how much you like him. If things go wrong between you two, you are definitely going to wish you never sent them!  
Pick your partner wisely 
The higher up the chain of command your love interest lies, the more complicated your situation will be. Anyone who gets personal with the boss is unlikely to win the popularity vote. If you are chosen for a big promotion or project, be prepared for accusations of favouritism and the inevitable animosity.  By sleeping with the enemy, so to speak, you are looking at undermining your position regardless of how capable you are. 
To add to the danger factor, a 2014 survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder revealed that 1 in 5 office affairs involved a married partner. Be warned that something which starts as a bit of fun could quickly escalate into a life changing experience for more than just the two of you. 
Be discreet 
It’s all too easy to get carried away in the first throes of a new romance. PDA’s at work are a no-go, as are stationary cupboard shenanigans. If you work on the same team, be respectful to your colleagues. Your new relationship status is likely to affect the group dynamic, and a budding romance can create resentment. 
Keep it to yourselves until you are sure it’s got long-term potential. Once you’ve decided to go public, the news is going to get around the office fast, so it’s advisable to speak to your boss first. Be professional, state your case and make assurances of minimum disruption. 
Consciously uncouple
Breaking up is hard to do at the best of times, but when you’re still working together it can be particularly painful. Be patient if one of you is taking it harder than the other, and try not to let things get personal. Keep deep and meaningful conversations for outside working hours and if you’re both going to survive the fallout, mutual respect is a must. 
A toast to the happy couple!  
The good news is that interoffice relationships can go the distance. The work environment is full of like minded people you already get along with, and if you successfully navigate the pitfalls, you could be in line for personal as well as professional success.

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Jazz Panesar is a Digital and Technology Apprentice at Severn Trent. Read Jazz’s story here.

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