Relationships in the workplace are nothing new. They happen all the time all over the country.
You may have met at work or applied for a new position at the same company. You may work in the same building, the same office or even in the same team.
Working closely together can bring many challenges for you both. In the way you get along and the dynamics with other staff.
Here I look at the advantages, disadvantages and some things you need to think about.
Can my other half and I work together?
Generally yes, although some occupations and company policies discourage it. You may need to set some ground rules with each other so it doesn’t affect your work. However, there are advantages and disadvantages for a new relationship in working together.
Table of Contents
People often form relationships at work
While we go to work to earn a living. Most of us would agree that finding someone to spend our lives with is far more important. Work places are a fantastic way to meet new people.
You may find you connect with someone at work on another level and find them attractive. Work is one of the most common places to meet a potential partner.
If you work closely with someone, you could be spending many hours with them and enjoy their company. It’s only natural a relationship can develop.
Research by Stanford University shows that 11% of couples met at work. This number is going down as online dating becomes more popular.
So a girlfriend and boyfriend in the same workplace is not unusual. Speculating about staff relationships is often office gossip.
What are the company’s policies?
Some occupations like the military have special rules about relationships at work. This is to protect the integrity of their work and other staff. They have to operate in certain situations.
Around half of companies in the country have policies about office dating. You often have to inform a supervisor or HR if a relationship has developed.
Failing to disclose something you should have can result in disciplinary proceedings. Some work places may fire employees who don’t abide by their policies.
As you can see, it’s well worth checking if your company has a policy in place. Romantic relationships are often discouraged, but are they against the rules?
Common polices are that you can’t be in a higher position directly dealing with your partner. It creates a conflict of interest and can interfere with other employees.
Advantages of working together
If the relationship is new, then having the ability to spend more time together is good. You can get to know each other more quickly and on a deeper level than if you only met outside your working hours.
You can enjoy your lunch breaks together and discuss what’s going on in the workplace. If you live together, you can commute to work at the same time.
You have someone who’s got your back, and you can trust. You have a confidant you can share everything you know about the company and its staff.
You have someone there who shares your views and personality. You may find the same things amusing. Your relationship can go to another level with all these experiences.
You can easily plan annual holiday or days off as a pair. It’s far easier to get time off booked together when you work for the same company.
Disadvantages of working together
If there are any problems at home or in the relationship. It’s going to be difficult to separate them when you work together.
As boyfriend or girlfriend, you might quickly discover if it doesn’t work out. You could be stuck in the workplace with someone you no longer like in a deep way.
If you’ve started arguing and you work together, you will have to keep your emotions in check. Work is not the place where you’ll be able to freely express yourself as boyfriend or girlfriend.
Problems can occur if your partner has a supervisory position over you. Your relationship may be half and half at home, but at work you might have to do what you’re told.
Workplace dynamics can be different than at home and tensions could rise. What if you love your partner but they’re not very good at their job?
Would you cover for a partner’s poor work performance or if they made a mistake? If you had to, could you be the one to tell someone your partner did something wrong?
Should you keep it a secret?
What would you do? Pretend not to know each other? Or try to act like your other half is just like any other work colleague?
You would have to avoid being seen meeting each other too often or getting close. You might have to be wary on your way to and from work in case you see any other employees who could say something.
Whatever you try to do, it would become very obvious to some that there is something going on between you. The way you interact with each other will often give it away.
We may be able to lie occasionally but to keep something from people during the whole workday. Would become extremely difficult.
It sounds fun but may turn out to cause more problems than it’s worth. If you enjoy your job and plan to stay any length of time, then honesty is the best policy.
What will your colleagues think?
It depends if they know or not. If it’s a secret, the gossip will be all over the department and company. It will surely affect productivity and morale when people know.
If it’s out in the ope,n it will be very difficult to treat your partner the same. Especially if they’re in the same department and you work with them closely.
Staff will be very conscious of any favoritism or preferential treatment. This is often why a boyfriend or girlfriend aren’t in a role where one is superior to the other.
Any decisions made will be scrutinized by your fellow workers to see if it benefits your partner or not. Would they be treated the same had it been them, will be a regular thought.
You may have the best intention and you may make every effort not to treat anyone differently. But there will always be the doubt hanging over you.
When you shouldn’t work together
If your relationship is only boyfriend and girlfriend and you’re struggling to get along. Maybe you argue a lot then you should have a serious think about whether you want to work together.
Working together isn’t the answer to a relationship that isn’t working out. It’s not suddenly going to make it better, only worse.
If one of you is easily jealous or a bit possessive. How is the other going to react when you have a man or woman working very closely with you.
This is the same if either of you are a bit insecure. You might see each other in a totally different light that you weren’t expecting, and you may not like it.
You need to think about your relationship. Do you really want to spend more time together? Are you the sort of people it would help or not?
Some boyfriends and girlfriends need to spend time apart to appreciate each other. You can get too much of a good thing.
It’s big decision to work together as a couple and requires a lot of thought. It may be appealing at first but there are many downsides to consider.
It may be a good thing financially and you’d certainly be spending far more time with each other.
But you lose your independence. Can you really be yourself knowing that your partner can see every move you make?
A flirty conversation with a colleague may mean nothing and be part of office fun. But what would your partner think if they saw it? Would they take it the wrong way?
There are so many dynamics at play in the workplace and it would be difficult to know if it would really work or not.
Whether or not you work together, stick to the company policies and you’ll make your workday a far easier place to be.