Workplace romances have gotten more complex following the recent flood of sexual misconduct allegations in Hollywood, politics and the media. Office relationships are getting a new look by company leadership and Human Resources. Furthermore, employees who might be looking to ask a co-worker on a date are thinking twice.

The workplace is one of the most popular places to find a lover. To be sure, dating is common among employees.  Thirty-six percent have gone out with a co-worker, 30 percent have dated someone in a higher position than them, and 22 percent have had a workplace romance with their boss, according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey.

Due to the latest sexual harassment allegations, organizations are implementing a written or verbal policy on workplace romance. Most workplace policies forbid relationships between bosses and subordinates or push for “love contracts,” where workplace couples are required to disclose their relationships. (Watch my interview on Fox Accelerator regarding Love Contracts)

 Before employees begin dating someone at their company or customers, here is what they should consider:

  1. Do not share the relationship in the beginning
    If you are newly dating a co-worker or customer, it is best to keep it quiet until the relationship gets more serious. Read your company policy about dating and ensure you are not violating the handbook guidance.
  2. If you are dating your boss
    Be cautious if you are dating a manager or your boss. If you continue the relationship, you will need to go to Human Resources because most organizations have a zero tolerance policy regarding this relationship.  This relationship can also be detrimental to your career.
  3. Make sure the lover is available
    This relationship can be dangerous both to your career and personally. Make sure the potential romance is with an unattached individual. You do not want to have unnecessary drama at work.
  4. Is the relationship worth it?
    Research shows that 30% of those who have dated at work result in marriage. Are you sure that this relationship is what you to pursue long term?
  5. Don’t let the relationship impact your performance
    Fellow employees will notice the change in your work. This could affect your compensation, promotions etc.  Workplace romances may lead to accusations of poor judgment and favoritism.
  6. Keep affections at home not at the office
    Personal displays of affection will make other employees uncomfortable. This could lead to complaints of a hostile workplace. 
  7. Have a breakup plan
    It is always important to have a well-thought plan if the relationship does not work out.