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Office Flings - a no go zone?

 Should dating a colleague be strictly off limits? We examine perils of work place romance…

With the demands of modern life and so many people spending more time at work than they do anywhere else, it’s hardly surprising that so many are now opting to forge romantic relationships in the work place. Over half of the UK’s work force admits to having dated a colleague at some stage in their career. Moreover an astonishing one in five people marry a co-worker. Sadly though, not all office romances end in long-term commitment. If you’re considering an office fling, abide by the following rules for maximum damage limitation.

Don’t flirt via email
Tempting as it may be to send flirty messages via the office email, remember that your IT department has access to all your personal files including your email archive. You could risk disciplinary action for misuse of office property and if the relationship doesn’t go your way you could also find the emails being used as evidence against you for sexual harassment. Texts are a much more discreet way to communicate.

Check your contract
Don’t jeopardise your job for the sake of a fling. Certain firms and companies have strict regulations and guidelines regarding inter-office dating so check your contract carefully and if you’re unsure, speak to someone in your HR department to clarify before you proceed.

Don’t be a repeat offender
While it’s tempting to see the office as an endless dating pool, you won’t be able to get away with dating more than a couple of people at work without developing an unwanted reputation as the workplace predator. Be selective about who you choose to seduce and if possible avoid hooking up with your boss or someone who has the power to sack you if things go wrong.

Don’t shout about it
By all means share news of your burgeoning romance with friends and family who aren’t associated with work but give the relationship time to develop before announcing anything to your workmates. This will help you save face if things don’t quite work out as planned as well as prevent the slew of office gossip which could place unnecessary pressure on your relationship during its early stages.

Stay off the premises
After hours office frolics may seem thrilling but they’re fraught with danger from getting caught on security cameras to bumping in to colleagues working late. Even if your co-workers know you’re dating, your behaviour towards one another at work should remain professional and business like. Discretion is paramount so no public displays of affection allowed.

Take it slowly
"Don't use the fact that you see them every day to force things to proceed at a fast pace. It's very easy to let office romances proceed at a rocket pace, because you see each other every day it can feel as though you don't get any space from each other." says Match.com’s relationship Kate Taylor.

Keep it professional
Never bring your personal arguments and conflicts to work with you and if you break-up, try to do all your grieving away from the office. If necessary take a couple of days off to get over the worst of it before returning to work. Be polite and mindful that using gossip and slander to vent your revenge will only make you look bad.

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