How to decide if you can and should date your employee or colleague

Love can strike us anywhere, even at work. In fact, 40% of the workforce will experience romance at work.

If you’re feeling any romantic or sexual pull towards a colleague, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong and that you’re a sex criminal! Breathe in, breathe out. This is natural. You will probably be charmed by a colleague at some point.

The question is: Should it go any further? In some cases, it simply can’t because of your company’s policy, especially between manager, executives, and their reports.

That being said, if it is legal, then you can think about it with caution.

Here are some pros and cons to think this through:

Pros:

  • You’ll have greater mutual understanding through common workplace
  • The logistics of the relationships will be easy
  • You’ll be dating someone you’ve gotten to know already within a familiar context
  • You’ll be dating someone with common passions, interests and social circle

Cons:

  • If it doesn’t work out, you’ll have to interact with him or her on a daily basis.
  • It could affect your reputation and productivity.
  • Conflicts will affect the entire culture.
  • Colleagues might assume you are leveraging someone’s feelings to advance your career, as this is a common assumption, research shows
  • If it doesn’t work out, your next partner may feel uneasy with the fact that you are working directly with an ex-romantic partner. There are lasting impacts of your decision.

Of course, it is easier to meet people at work, as it is a micro-society. But these risks are real. It is worth a good reflection and the efforts to expand your social and dating life outside of work if that is the best decision for all.