Something tricky when working with people of the opposite sex is the possibility of dating a co-worker. It is common to be interested in someone that you spend a lot of time with, but it can be a dangerous game to play when you are actually dating someone at work. Here are some really important things to consider if you are keen on asking the other person out.

Before you let anything happen between you and a co-worker, learn your company’s dating policy. This should be in the company manual. You should have been given a copy of your company’s manual (probably digitally) when you started at your job, but if not, ask the Human Resources department for it. Do not mention the reason why you want to read the manual. Instead, just ask, and if they want to know why, tell them that you just want to check on something. It should not be a problem.

If dating co-workers is completely forbidden, then is it really worth the risk? If your employer finds out, it could ruin your job, and to most people, that is not worth it for romance.

Alternatively, if it is okay by your company that co-workers date, then you can consider it. Even if it is okay by your company, it is a risky decision. If you are dating someone that you work with, you likely see this person often.

First of all, who is going to make the first move? It could be very awkward if you decide to and it turns out they are not interested. In that case, you have to face them daily, feeling uncomfortable about the situation.

If it does work out that you both want to be together, consider the breakup. It is daunting to think about a breakup before you even get together with a person, but it is important to think about the possibilities of a breakup when dating a coworker. If you break up and one of you is very hurt, will it be very uncomfortable at your job? Are you willing to risk that possibility? What if this person breaks your heart, or you break theirs, and you have to see them at work EVERY DAY? Wouldn’t that be really difficult?

Also, even before the breakup, you should consider what it would be like to see your partner all the time. Usually in relationships, partners do not see each other during the day because they are at work. In this situation, you will be seeing the person while you are at work and outside of your job. That could be very different for you, so you need to think about whether or not you are okay with all the extra time together.

If you have decided that you are going for it anyway, you both need to decide how to approach the relationship in regards to the workplace. Are you going to keep it secret, or will you tell your coworkers? You both need to agree, because it could be really awkward if one of you is telling everyone while the other person does not want anyone to know.

Another thing to remember, if you do decide to date, is to be professional at work. Even if co-workers know that you are dating, you need to act like adults in the workplace. You cannot be kissing and touching each other during working hours, even when you are on breaks. It can make your co-workers very uncomfortable, and you do not want to give them a reason to complain to the HR department. Also if you are going ahead with the idea, think of your shift timings and see how it might work for you. If you are having to do morning shifts and your partner has night shifts, you might not even get to see the person you are dating.

Dating a co-worker is a dangerous game to play, but if that person just happens to be more intriguing to you than anyone outside of work, be cautious about the situation, and keep your work environment a priority.

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