Just don't get down to business in your place of business, please.
The first rule of riding your colleague is that you MUST be easy breezy about it. There’s a strong chance of it all going awry and in close quarters, that can spell danger. So if you fancy the hole off the fella that works three desks over, don’t make it painfully obvious to all and sundry. If you happen to hook up on a night out, don’t be hearing wedding bells. Tread very, very softly.
If you suddenly start arriving in the office preened and blow dried to within an inch of your life, everyone will know what’s up. Again, be chill. Look your best of course, but in a low key way. Work is not the place to rock a mini dress with cut-outs or to suddenly transform from a zombie gremlin into a Glamazon.
Even if there’s absolutely no chance, presuming your higher-ups know of your every electronic correspondence with your work bae will keep you on the straight and narrow. Casual work related flirting? Acceptable. Lunch plans? All G! Sexting? For the love of God, no!
When you’re dating someone you work with, it’s all fun and fantasy games to imagine nipping off for a bit of how’s your father any time of the day in the disabled loo. But do you actually do it? Not unless you want to get red, or have all your colleagues think you’re a pair of horny eejits with no self-control.
If things look like they’re going in the right direction and love is blooming, don’t announce it to the whole company right away. We all know relationships are complicated, and things can go very wrong very quickly. So pace yourself, don’t be putting up couples selfies on your desk just yet. Plus, keeping it secret-ish can be verrrrry sexy.
No to anniversary flowers, snuggles in the canteen, holding hands and whispering in the communal spaces. In work, treat one another as the professionals that you are, and save everything else for your own time. There’s nothing worse than making your colleagues feel uncomfortable, and it’d only reflect badly on you.
When I got a promotion not long after I met my husband, I automatically thought that everyone in work presumed I was sleeping my way to the top, or worse, that I was easy and promoting me would ensure a roll in the hay. I was way off, of course, but it doesn’t do any harm to be hyper aware in these scenarios. I worked harder because of it, and it only did me good in the end.
…And that it’ll likely be for the best, for your relationship and your careers. While working alongside my husband meant we understood one another’s careers incredibly well, it also meant we were in each other’s pockets and shared a lot of the same stress. When he inevitably got a better job and left (as we Millennials are likely to do), I did miss him an awful lot because we’d got into a rhythm. But at the end of the day, working apart gave our relationship another dimension and now there are no internal politics.
I’ve witnessed work relationships ending both with a crash and a fizzle, and neither were good. So before you enter into anything with a colleague, go in with your eyes wide open that it may not work out, and if it doesn’t, it’s going to be even more difficult than your average break-up. That’s not doom and gloom, it’s common sense. So by all means, go for it – just consider everything else first.