Dating Colleagues In The Workplace
It’s no secret that Singaporeans spend notoriously long hours at the work. Colleagues become office familia after spending hours talking and joking to make the job more bearable.
Sometimes, the friendship between colleagues can blur the line between work and play, and before you can stop yourself, you’ve caught feelings.
While you may think ‘following your heart’ and confessing to your office eye candy is a great idea, here’s my advice: gurllll, don’t do it, there’s too much at stake.
You might ruin your reputation if you get caught
Movies feed us the idea that office romances are all about secretly making out when your boss is not looking or having a midnight romp on an office desk. While thrilling, it’s all fun and games until you get caught.
You can be assured the gossipy office aunties will endlessly recount your story with barely concealed delight and mock shock. Word might get to your boss and you could lose your job.
In a small city like Singapore, it’s unwise to mess up in the workplace since everyone knows everyone. One juicy scandal can cost you your professional and personal reputation.
However, some companies are accepting of workplace coupling. I’ve heard of colleagues whose friends have gotten together in the F&B industry.
They tell me that their particular line of work has notoriously long working hours and a high turnover rate. In an effort to retain workers, their companies allow and encourage dating within the workplace to keep couples happy.
So before you date your office boo, it’s important to check your company’s policies and make sure you’re thick-skinned enough to ignore your colleagues kaypoh-ing about your relationship.
It can be difficult to maintain a work-life balance
If you’re lucky enough to work for a company supportive of workplace relationships and decide to date a co-worker, the initial honeymoon period can be blissful.
You wouldn’t pine for or miss them as you’ll see their cute face all day, erryday. However, the spending long hours together can wear on your relationship.
There’s a good chance the time you’d spend together would be quantity, not quality time. Most interactions would be of a professional rather than personal nature, and conversations will revolve largely around your jobs.
You may also be tempted to tackle work issues with your partner after office hours, making it difficult to maintain a work-life balance.
Not spending enough alone time to recharge and relax could also cause built up resentment. Recently, I realised the bulk of the arguments my boyfriend and I have occurred when we’re on holiday.
Spending 24/7 with him caused strain on our relationship argued as we didn’t have enough personal space. Similarly, workplace relationships can fray because of the lack of personal space.
It can be awkward if things don’t work out
When things go south, it’s not only awkward for the couple but for office colleagues too.
If you have a fight with your partner, you wouldn’t have time to cool off as you’d have to face them at work. When two employees try to avoid and refuse to talk to each other, it creates unnecessary workplace drama.
It’s similarly awkward if feelings are one-sided and confessing to your office crush goes awry.
I have a girlfriend who got tipsy at her company’s Christmas party and ended up sleeping with her office crush. In her drunken stupor, she confessed her feelings. Unfortunately, he didn’t feel the same way.
As a result, working with him has become awkward, she confesses. Worse still, their colleagues took sides following their fall out, creating a tense office environment.
However, I’ve also heard of people who’ve married their ex-colleagues. But these older and more mature couples only started dating when one of them left the company.
They recognised it could get messy if they dated while still working together, and wished to maintain professional boundaries.
Maintaining Professional Boundaries Between Colleagues
Though it’s your right to keep your dating life private, people will inevitably talk and it can tax the relationship.
From personal experience and watching friends navigate their office relationships, I’ve found it’s better not to “shit where you eat”.
But if you truly feel for a colleague and want to date, go into the relationship fully knowing what you’re getting yourself into.