Let’s face it; many people spend more hours at work than waking hours at home. Thus, it's not hard to figure out why people date co-workers. So, if you find yourself falling for the cutie in the cubicle next door, should you act on your emotions? Keep in mind, if it all works out it is a wonderful thing, if not—UGH!
If you do decide to let romance flourish with a fellow employee, as your relationship moves ahead there are ethical issues to consider. First, dating a superior/subordinate is not a good idea. Should you find yourself in this situation, one of you needs to be transferred to another department. Doing so eliminates the possibility of the supervisor showing favoritism.
If you work in different departments or are at the same level, there are still things to consider. Public displays of affection that a reasonable person would deem inappropriate must be avoided. If your personal relationship begins to affect your work, ex. spending too much time chatting, consistently over extending lunch time, then it becomes a performance issue and your employer can and should deal with it accordingly.
On the other hand, if things turn ugly there are not only emotions to deal with but some possible legal ramifications. Before becoming intimate ask yourself if you will be comfortable sitting in a meeting with that person who has seen you naked. Additionally, that lovely person who you canoodled with so happily for three months may now cry sexual harassment, which can lead to you losing your job.
A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on Workplace Romance found that most companies do not even have a formal, written, policy on romance in the workplace. Of 612 members who responded, 72 per cent did not have any formal written policy on dating. Of those, 14 per cent said that they have an unwritten policy that is well-understood by workers and management alike. Only 13 per cent of companies responding do have a written dating policy. Of those, only 7 per cent forbid all dating at work.
Whether your relationship continues or ends, be prepared to be fodder for the rumor mill. You may hear things that are untrue that make you angry and you may hear things that are true that embarrass you. Are you prepared to deal with that?
Although your company may not have a formal policy, good common sense is always in order. Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Proceed with caution. By the way, I met a cutie at work a little more than 30 years ago. Yup, still married to him.