For some, working with the boo is a major plus. You may not work in the same department, but being able to take lunch together and troubleshoot issues with a loved one can be a convenient advantage of having your boyfriend or girlfriend working at the same company you do.
I’m personally not a fan of it since:
1. I can be quite shrewd (ie. not so lovey-dovey) when it comes to business. I have little desire to protect feelings or sugarcoat things especially when they affect a bottom line. And let’s face it, the male ego can be a delicate one.
2. I don’t necessarily want to see my man before, during and after work. That age-old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder reigns supreme for me — even if the absence means being as little as a few train stops or intersections away.
3. I really don’t like to mix business with pleasure, especially when it comes to professional peers knowing my intimate business. I mean, what happens if you break up? How awkward is that? And how do you vent about a bad day if your man had a good one? What about when you’re having an argument? Will the whole office (or half the company) know it? Again, majorly awkward and annoying.
Some companies take things a bit further, requiring employees to disclose office romances by signing documentation acknowledging their involvement and leaving workers wondering whether it’s really their boss’ business who they’re involved with. Fortune contributor Anne Fisher says it most certainly is, citing that firms seek to avoid legal issues. She writes:
All this talk of contracts and lawsuits might come as a shock to anyone too young to remember a rash of high-profile sexual harassment suits in the ’90s— not to mention a few more recent ones, like the 2011 case where a jury awarded $10.6 million to a Kansas City employee of UBS Financial Services whose supervisor had harassed her.
In fact, a new poll by work-life and benefits consultants Workplace Options suggests the millennial generation is blissfully unaware of how messy, and how nasty, sex in the office can get. Consider: 84% of 18-to-29-year-olds say they’d date a coworker, versus 36% of Gen Xers (ages 30 to 45) and only 29% of Boomers (45-65). Almost three-quarters of millennials (71%) “see a workplace romance as having positive effects such as improved performance and morale,” the report adds.
Love can already be complicated enough. Maybe for married couples this poses less of a problem, but when you’re going through the motions of matters of the heart—those not bound by wedding vows—throwing workplace politics in the mix can add extra strain.
More fallout for couples who work together include interoffice drama that could affect productivity as well as conflicts of interest that could affect team morale and company bottom lines. Some experts differ in opinion when it comes to advice for managers on how to accommodate office romances, with some saying couple comradery should be encouraged and could lead to increased retention.
All in all, the presence of interoffice dating is one that will probably stand the test of time, and if it’s worked for you, kudos.
I will remain part of the 64% of “Gen Xers” who wouldn’t date a coworker. With disclosures being required from major businesses, the trend of managers all up in your business outside the cubicle may become a prevalent one. Maybe having boo in the next cubicle isn’t that great of an idea after all.
What do you think of office romances and cupid disclosures? #SoundOff and follow Janell on Twitter @JPHazelwood.