Do's and don'ts of dating a co-worker

Do's and don'ts of dating a co-worker

Employment & HR

Shital Mehra

Shital Mehra

345 week ago — 3 min read

After the high-profile exit of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney, there is a lot of debate about romancing a colleague. As today’s offices are great places for professionals to mingle, this proximity does lead to office romances. 

A recent survey by CareerBuilder in the US found that nearly 40% of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a co-worker. While office flings can energize you and offer a confidante at work, they can adversely impact your career as well.   


  • Read your company’s policy: If there’s no written policy, observe the culture around you. Broadly speaking, creative industries are more liberal than traditional ones like medical, legal and banking. 

  • Dating the boss alienates you from your peers and sends whispers of partiality across the department. The consequences if you were to break-up would mean no promotion, maybe even a job change. 

  • Dating a subordinate whose appraisal you’re responsible for, will invariably lead to accusations of favoritism. 

  • Dating a client will give your colleagues a chance to snigger about your personal relationship bringing in the business for the firm. If there’s a break-up, you’ll lose both your partner and the account.  

  • Hush! Office grapevines thrive on juicy nuggets about romances & breakups; it’s best to keep off-duty activities out of the office. 

  • Stay away from office email as it belongs to your employer and their IT teams are authorised to read them. Why allow them to secretly enjoy your love notes? Or, pictures of your weekend trips?

  • Manage your web presence. Posting lovey-dovey pictures on Facebook and mushy Twitter feeds can be seen by existing and potential clients and employers, detracting from your professionalism. 

  • Don’t bring fights to work as allowing your personal problems to spill over to the office hampers productivity.   

  • No PDA and observe the 'no togetherness at work' rule: While displays of intimacy may entertain your co-workers, to be viewed as a team player invest your time bonding with your colleagues, instead of romancing your partner. 

  • Dating co-workers needs extreme maturity as it can get messy if things do not work out; try and part as friends.   


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.  

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Shital Kakkar Mehra

Business Etiquette & Cross-cultural expert; Business Communciation Coach for CXOs