Dating Etiquette in the Workplace: What You Need to Know

When you are dating your coworker, keep business trips, PDA appropriateness, and superior/subordinate issues in mind.

Diane HamiltonProfessor, Author, and Business Leadership Expert weighs in on this important topic.

Follow these tips and avoid the common pitfalls associated with office romances:

  • Don’t Make People Feel Uncomfortable. I have taught more than 1000 business courses, and many are HR-based.  Workplace romance is more common than most people think.  It might surprise you to know that many workplace romances include top-level people.  Recent research published by SHRM showed that nearly 40% were owners and executives. What is interesting is that 1 in 5 workers responded that they have observed relationships at work that they consider inappropriate.

  • Business Trip Etiquette Requires Keeping Things Work-Related. It is important to stay professional always. No matter how much you might love each other, PDA is not appropriate at a work function. Anything about a romantic relationship involving you and another coworker is something you should not share with your other coworkers. When traveling on business, separate rooms are appropriate. Consider work as something very separate from away from work. People will probably find out if you are seen outside of work together, but until someone asks (and hopefully until the relationship is solid), it is best to avoid having people even knowing anything about the relationship. That is not to say people need to hide, but I would not advertise it either.
  • Be Proactive and Prepare for Disruption. It is common to hear “the heart wants what the heart wants.” However, progress with caution because relationships can and will end. It is important to have a plan in mind for what happens if the relationship ends badly. Problems with dating a coworker include: poor judgement, favoritism, and reduced productivity.  It can be very disruptive if a worker dates his or her boss. Colleagues might no longer trust that employee for fear that information will go back to the boss. If the relationship ends, it can cause a lot of tension and friction in the office. Companies can have policies in place for workplace dating.  However, nearly half of employees end up dating at some point. Leaders who want to manage relationships, might seek counsel of an attorney and HR expert to develop policies that reinforce a specific work culture.
  • Companies Should Not Bear the Financial Expense. Be professional, no matter how strong feelings might be. Be discreet and don’t discuss your relationship. Don’t use expense accounts for things related to the
    relationship. Don’t use company time to develop your relationship.

    Available for interviews: Dr. Diane Hamilton, PhD

Jo Allison
Success In Media, Inc.

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