Office Mates

Don’t fall for the gotcha, gotcha (respect, Laurie Ann Gibson of Making the Band fame); make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into when trying to cut with a co-worker.

Don’t think we’re throwing shade or blocking either. We completely understand why some bridge their work and love life.

People typically spend more time at work than at home, so it’s no wonder that a recent survey reveals that roughly 37 percent of workers admit to having dated a co-worker at some point in their careers. 32 percent of workers said they’ve gone on to marry a person from a relationship that started at work.

There are benefits to dating someone at work. Since you spend so much time with the people you work with, you get to weed out who’s crazy, who’s got more baggage than Mary J. Blige’s first four albums, and who’s just not compatible with you, and there is some security in knowing that they have a stable job.

So yes, cubicle cuties and the office romances they produce are real, but there’s an obvious flip side to consider: How many exes do you hate? Better yet, why was Fantasia singing into a bottle of Ambien recently?

It’s because relationships often spur drama and the luxury of work is that you can separate your personal life from your professional one. The minute you start dating someone you work with, you bring the two together, and there’s nothing worse than the “I’m not talking to you treatment” even at the water cooler, so be careful.

First things first: Know your company’s policy about office romance. Though most companies have no formal or written romance policy for its workers, be certain before you take it there. You don’t want to end up praise dancing outside of your old job for spare change because of one date with a co-worker that wasn’t even that good.

Secondly, try and be discreet. Don’t tell anyone at your office (except your manager under certain circumstances), – even your office BFF. You know people like to spread other people’s business via mass emails. In certain incidences it is best to tell your direct manager of your snuggling desires with a co-worker, so that a manager can manage the situation to higher-ups and with clients as needed (i.e. does a manager real want to find out afterwards that a client pitch went sour because the team he put together went sour outside of the office).

Next, avoid showing intimacy at work, even when alone. Splash some cold water wherever you need to calm yourself down. Try not to take breaks together. It’s obvious. As is taking one too many business trips together.

Most of all, don’t talk about your relationship on social networks. Don’t mention it in your Facebook status, don’t tweet about any dates or upload any photographic evidence, and don’t, well, at this point there are no other social media networks worth discussing, so you get the point. Keep it all to yourself.

Don’t even think about using company money for romantic purposes. Again, you’ll be performing “Pop, Lock and Drop It” at the unemployment office for special favors.

And please, baby, please think about who you’re dating at work. If you’re dating a colleague, know that rivalry and competition could harm the relationship. If you’re dating a subordinate, realize the potential of false accusations of favoritism to arise. The same can be said of dating your boss.

You’re best bet to avoid that is to see if you or your new special friend who doubles as your co-worker can transfer if things get serious.

Lastly, sit down and have frank talk about how to handle things in the event of the break up. You have to keep working with this person, and it will be a lot easier if they don’t end up keying your car in spite, like those kids on Glee.

All and all, while tricky to juggle, being in a happy relationship can make you a better worker. So enjoy your plus one, but heed our tips so you won’t end up minus one job.