Dating a co-worker? Master these tips first

Eyeing that cute girl who sits in the cubicle next to you? You’re not alone. Research shows more than half of working people have engaged in some type of office romance. But dating your co-worker isn’t exactly a straightforward situation. Picture a scenario where things go wrong, and you have to run into your now ex-girlfriend EVERY DAY. Nice, huh? Here’s an expert guide to dating your coworker without having things get messy—plus a few circumstances where you might want to pass on pursuing that office romance.

Make sure it’s worth it
It sounds simple enough. But it is important to keep in mind that the person you know at the office is likely different from the person that your co-worker becomes when they are not in a professional setting. Make sure he or she is worth it and that it could become something real, because you will be creating a potential for awkwardness and problems in your workplace.

Don’t engage in PDA
Even if your company policy doesn’t explicitly state anything against engaging in romantic relationships at the office, don’t give HR a reason to add a clause when the two of you get caught going at it. Sure, a make-out in one of your offices sounds very titillating, but your boss doesn’t need to see your PDA—and even if you are sure no one is around, you might get busted by surveillance cameras.

Talk about the worst case scenario
Breakups are messy, and are doubly messy when you have to see and work with your ex every day. Before things get too serious, it is best to lay out a clear plan of action with your potential partner on how you both can handle things if it doesn’t work out.

Don’t date your boss
Don’t date your boss. Don’t date your CEO. Don’t date someone much higher up at your company who may at one point have to make direct decisions on things like your salary or employment status. Same goes for the reverse. It is best to avoid relationships with those you supervise or are supervised by.

Don’t give them special treatment
Not only is it wrong, but once your relationship becomes public and you have been marked as doing favours for that person, your job—and reputation—could seriously be in jeopardy. When it comes to work, make sure you treat the co-worker your dating just like you would any other co-worker- and save the special treatment for after office hours.