office-romanceGiven how much time we spend at the office, it’s not surprising that many love relationships begin there. Rather than being led exclusively by your heart, it’s important to remember to involve your head as well when it comes to how a workplace relationship plays out.

To avoid problems, check with your human resources department to learn about your company’s office romance policy and any applicable local and state laws.  HR can give you the information you need in order to be compliant.

Assuming company policy and local laws are on your side, early on, discuss with your partner how you’ll interact while in the office with your partner.  Take extreme care not to fan the flames of favoritism or inappropriate decision-making – especially if one of you reports to the other.

Be prepared to handle gossip.  No matter how careful or secretive you think you’re being, your relationship will be a topic of conversation among your co-workers.

If your office romance ends, emotions can be particularly intense, especially if you must continue interacting with your ex.  Above all else, remain professional if you intend to stay with the company.

If you manage your ex-partner, avoid behaving in ways that they might interpret as discriminatory.  The slightest hint of retaliation can lead to grievances or claims of harassment.  Don’t speak disparagingly about your ex to anyone in the office – even if your ex does so.  Mindfully manage your emotions and consciously choose to take the high road.

If there is bad blood between the two of you, talk it out.  Find ways to maintain your workplace relationship in the face of ending your personal relationship.  Address potential problems early before things spiral into an ugly, office-wide distraction that impacts productivity and trust.  You don’t want a nasty personal feud to hijack your professional reputation and credibility.

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