Loving 9 to 5–when romance strikes in the office

OpenForum_OfficeRomance_chart_v2Interoffice dating has always been taboo for me. Statistics, however, demonstrate that  office romance is far from being unusual. Figures vary from survey to survey, but I haven’t found one where the percentage of people who have dated a co-worker was lower than 40%.  They say that if it is not you, then the colleague sitting next to you has dated a co-worker. Check. The colleague sitting next to me is married to a co-worker. The population of my (multinational) company, seems to conform to the statistics (I assume we have no policy that forbids office dating). Quite a few employees are dating, have dated, have married and have had children with a co-worker. Given my spinsterhood status, I guess I will have to give it a try.  It sounds like a good alternative. What else is left anyway – internet dating? I still prefer meeting people in the flesh.

As we  live in an era where we spend more time in work than doing anything else, why not take Time Management to a whole new and personal level? Nothing makes your time management more efficient than dating someone from the office. It saves a whole lot of time, as you don’t have to search for a special someone by engaging in social activities outside office hours. Also, if you work together you both live within reasonable dating distance, which is gonna save you cash too, as you can bypass the early stages of conventional dating where it is all about going out to dinner etc. Once the relationship is established you will even be able to carpool.

The workplace is a breeding ground for flirtation. You lock eyes a few times, you chat nicely over a coffee or in the smoking area, you chat extra nicely at the company social event over  booze. The question is: who is date-worthy? For someone who has always considered dating a co-worker against their own ethics, identifying who could be worth the hassle, ain’t that easy.

Dating your manager – nah, not for me, not someone that controls your salary and compensation. It may be an advantage when it’s all a bed of roses (despite the gossip and the dangers of favouritism), but what if the relationship doesn’t end in fairy tale style? Better to stay within your hierarchy.

Dating a colleague from the same floor – sounds like the easiest option. You pretty much get the chance to “randomly” bump into each other at any time; you can lock eyes over the pc screen, there are a million work related excuses to have to go talk to each other face to face; there is the thrill of being close without the others knowing and being intimate when the others aren’t looking (ehmm.. remember the only thing you should get caught ‘making’ at work, is money for your company). You meet everyday, any time of the day… 40 hours per week…that will feel like an eternity when you break up or when he/she is flirting with other colleagues. Option flunked.

Dating a colleague from another department – sounds less dangerous. It may be harder to test the waters and understand if your chosen one has the hots for you too, but once the relationship takes off, you have the advantage of being close but not so close to be overwhelmed by the other’s presence. Being in constant contact can cause a relationship to fall apart just as quickly as it developed. The  moments spent together become precious and are filled with playful jokes, love notes, polite pecks (same rule as to what you should be caught making at work applies). Plus if you break up you don’t have to endure the pain of seeing each other all the time. Tempting option.

Dating a colleague from another site –  here you do not have the advantage of being within reasonable dating distance, but you certainly have the advantage of not having to care about morning after regrets. I personally can’t figure how this would be anything more than a fling, but if it ever survived for the long haul, I would recommend choosing the location carefully, as you may actually end up asking to be transferred and then live in said location. Option to be considered (remember the City is dull and rainy…).

I am still not convinced about office dating, but I certainly have options to consider (sunny place to move to? a sweatheart in some hidden corner of the building?). Now tell me, are you in favour or against office dating? Don’t have to leave your name, take the anonymous poll below. Feel free to add your insights on office dating in the comments below.