Dos and Don'ts: Online Inter-Office Dating

By Katherine Wood

There are millions of people out there looking for love, and one of the top ways of finding your dream guy or girl is to join online dating sites. More than 41 million Americans have tried online dating at least once, according to Statistic Brain. While these sites are very popular and can work quite well, there is also the chance that you might run across someone you know from work. This is especially the case if you work for a large corporation or office.

Location-based dating and relationship apps (i.e. Tinder and Hinge) also are becoming more prevalent—meaning 45 million matches in Tinder's first few months, according to Forbes. Accordingly, you might find more people close to where you are: inside your workplace. So what should you do if you find someone who interests you? When it comes to inter-office dating, there are definitely some dos and don'ts that you should keep in mind. Here are a few of them:

DO - Check Out Your Company's Policy

Though many companies accept inter-office dating, most won't encourage it, and some outright forbid it. Look it up under your office dating policy. You might find that you are required to tell your supervisor that you are dating a co-worker, or you might have to sign a contract. Failure to stick to the company policy could lead to termination, so make sure to do the right thing before acting on a crush.

DON'T - Date a Team-Member

If your company allows co-workers to date, you're probably in the clear. However, avoid dating someone you directly manage or your superior. You won't want to deal with any accusations of favoritism, abuse of power, or social climbing. These can create unfortunate situations for you, for your date, and for anyone else on your team.  

DO - Set Some Boundaries

You should also make sure that you are setting some commonly agreed-upon boundaries. For example, keep it professional at work. You may even want to avoid crossing paths at work unless absolutely necessary. By keeping your work and your relationship as separate as possible, you will likely find more success when it comes to your relationship and job performance.

DON'T - Show Signs of Affection at Work

Any type of unprofessional contact at work is inappropriate, regardless of what happens at home. Even if your coworkers know about your relationship, that doesn't make it any less personal, no matter where you two met. When at the office, keep the physical interactions as brief and as simple as possible.

DO - Understand What Could Happen When It Ends

Finally, understand what will happen if this relationship ends. Though it is certainly possible you could be together forever, that may not be the case. This can be problematic if you work together and could even cross legal lines if things get dirty. For instance, if you go through a nasty breakup, what will you do if your ex goes to HR and complains about something you did or said? This could seriously affect your job and even your career prospects down the road. This isn't to say you shouldn't date a co-worker, it simply means you should consider all of the good and bad before things get too serious.

Online and location based app dating is extremely popular, and odds are probably high that you will run into someone you know. Before contacting them online for a date, make sure that this is something you want to get into and something you can handle. The most important thing is to make sure you keep a clear head and know the effect that this kind of relationship could have on your career.

Katherine Wood is Managing Editor at Talent Tribune, where she writes about people, technology, and HR software.