GT: Do you need to let HR know?
MC: You need to let HR know for reasons such as insurance policies, but if there is an issue you need to address with HR caused by your relationship then you and your partner need to discuss ways in which you can solve the problems outside of the office. If your relationship does not affect your professional life in any way, then you do not need to address it with HR unless it is against company policy.
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GT: What if things go sour... how can you keep a good working relationship with your ex?
MC: You need to plan an “exit strategy.” When you begin your relationship, it is extremely important to think about the consequences of a break-up. Weigh the risks and rewards because if you are not prepared to handle your break-up in a professional manner, it is probably not worth embarking on the relationship in the first place. Do not end on a sour note, but promise to respect each other professionally and remain friends for the benefit of the entire office.
GT: How can you prevent your office romance from impacting your work?
MC: It’s human nature to allow your personal life to sometimes affect your professional life, but make a pact with yourself to keep these feelings outside of the office. Set boundaries for inside of the office. For example, if your significant other’s office is on another floor of the building, only venture there in the morning and before you go home. This will keep your work and home life as separate as possible, which will allow you to focus more during business hours.
GT: Are there any people you should absolutely NOT have an office romance with?
MC: Having an office romance with your boss, will absolutely upset the politics within the whole office.
GT: What is someone in your workplace is interested in you... but the feeling isn't mutual? How do you handle it professionally?
MC: At Dale Carnegie Training, we tell our customers to be sympathetic with the other person’s point of view. It is important to maintain a platonic relationship with the person who is interested in you, but it is also important to be honest. Begin the conversation in a friendly way, but let them know that you are only interested in a professional relationship with them. Being candid and upfront will help avoid arguments and confusion in the future.
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