Office Romance - What You Need to Know

a couple tease each other in their office

Companies all across the board are cramping down on Cupid's arrows in the work place. Love between management level staff and their subordinates are especially being targeted due to the rising cases of sexual harassment in the work place.

But when is it okay to flaunt the rules and date your co-worker when every policy in the company seems to be against it. This is a tough decision facing many people in corporate America, and revisiting the impact of dating a coworker may help them make the right decision.

For one thing, you have to agree that office romance happens all the time, no matter if company policies forbid them or not. Cupid's arrows fly all over the corporate corridors, in blatant disregard of HR polices.

In fact, CareerBuilder published a report not so long ago showing that 25% of intra-office fraternization occurred with someone in the management level. It's how human are biologically wired. We, and this goes out to women, are biologically wired through millions of years of evolution to look for a mate likely to secure our future.

During the cave man days, such mates came in hulk size, with muscles to keep off any predator. In the corporate jungle, financial security has taken over muscle security. Therefore, the higher up manager represents a biologically attractive mate for a subordinate female worker in the company. He has the cash and perks to ensure her survival and that of her offspring. It's all biology and evolution.

However, it doesn't make it the right decision to date someone your report to directly or indirectly. In the same breath, it doesn't make it right to date someone who reports to you. Why? Because it creates a tirade of inappropriate office behavior. It undermines the expected human resource interactions in the company. It drives down the productivity from the two workers.

Managers must maintain high standards. They must create and cultivate a perception that they do not play favorites. When they have an office romance, other workers will always say that the manager is playing favorites with the apple of his eye.

The manager will in deed play favorites, consciously or unconsciously. It's just how we are wired. Managers will seek to protect the person they love, which might translate to that person acting out of the rules. The other workers are sensitive of such behaviors, and the whole thing spirals down to conflicts in the work place, which reduce employee productivity.

Now that you know the dangers of office romance, you are still human. If you truly feel something special between the two of you, make a point of updating yourself with the company's policy on dating. If the company has strict policies on dating between coworkers, be prepared to face the consequences when you follow your heart.

You should be prepared to lose your job should you go ahead and consummate the relationship. But that's not the only situation where you might lose your job. Studies show that 7% of workers leave their jobs after breaking up with their office sweetheart.

Carefully think before acting, as your decision has great impacts on your career life.