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Fall in love with work... not your colleague

etiquette

Office romance

It’s one thing loving your job, quite another feeling the same way about a colleague...

A few moral boosting drinks and suddenly Rahul from the accounts department suddenly looks good enough to eat.

What with most Asian women professionals spending an increasing number of hours within office walls, there’s simply no time to look for a man in the conventional way. 

Having your love interest working away in the other room seems like an easy way to keep business and pleasure within easy reach of each other – what could possibly go wrong? The honest answer: a lot.

The main problem is that while it seems like a good idea at the time, if things don’t work out, there will be hell to pay. But, if you really can’t control those animal urges, then there’s a few things you should bear in mind.

 Do's and Don'ts

• Before things get serious between the two of you, make sure that your company’s policy allows inter-office romance. Some companies frown upon it because it can lead to distraction when workers become lovers.

Worse still, on the off chance that one of you gets promoted over the other, it can cause friction which, in turn, affects work productivity. Picture having to discipline him for taking too many fag breaks or him admonishing you for too many girlie chats!

• It’s only natural to want to gush about your new-found romance to your colleagues, but it doesn’t matter how forward-thinking your company is – office politics exist in every workplace.

Keep it as discreet as possible because when the two of you inevitably have a fight, the whispers will spread like wildfire. You’d better hope he’s not a blabbermouth – the last thing you want is for your colleagues to find out your intimate secrets.

• If you work for a large conglomerate and you’re dating someone from a different department, you might not have to deal with the awkward aftermath if things go wrong.

The danger arises when you work in a small company or are part of the same team because if things don’t work out, it can be horrendous, particularly if things end badly. And because there’s no way of distancing yourselves from each other, the storm of resentment and heartache can make for a very unpleasant working environment. This is when your boss will sit up and take notice.

• The darker side of office romance manifests itself in the form of a harassment case. If you go out with a real stinker, can you guarantee that he won’t make a complaint to HR and claim you were making inappropriate advances?

The best way to protect yourself against this is to ensure your company policy does allow office relationships; at least then you’ll have the backing of a HR representative.

• Avoid accusations of favouritism by downplaying your relationship in front of other people. That doesn’t mean you need to be an ice princess, but do try and avoid smooching him in full view of your colleagues.

• Oh, and try to avoid getting intimate with your boss. Especially if he’s married…

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