In our lifetimes, we’ll spend 90,000 hours at our jobs, and we build organic relationships with the people we see everyday.When it comes to meeting people, the office is the new village.That percentage is on the rise, and it’s no surprise: we spend one-third of our lives at work.So, is it possible to allow cupid’s arrows in the office—but steer clear of legal landmines?The first two times I dated coworkers, the relationships lasted more than a year each and ended in such a way that I could continue to work alongside them and even be social with them.My bosses have always known about the relationships (which I think is crucial!This system obviously has advantages over night-time pick-ups in darkened clubs, holiday romances, (notoriously short-lived), or blind dates arranged by friends. High-powered City workers of the Nineties are accustomed to using the office as a complete life- support system. Making a pass is a dangerous manoeuvre in the workplace. Trying to blur the lines between business and pleasure will appear sleazy.If your interest is not reciprocated you could be accused of sexual harassment or - at least - end up looking sad and sleazy once the office gossips have done their worst. How highly do you value this person as an employee/ colleague/ friend? This would entail getting someone to work late at the office and then taking them out for a meal "because it's too late to go home and cook" or taking them away on a business conference and making sure your rooms are next door to one another. Working well with someone means being relaxed with them - and that is impossible if you're not sure whether they're trying to seduce you or not.
It's always wise to keep in mind, though, that in the workplace you should think and plan before you act. What are your positions in the company pecking order? If you do tell this colleague you're not interested in them as a partner they may claim - unfairly - that that was never their intention in the first place, craftily extricating themselves from the area of conflict, leaving a sour taste all round.And you can indeed have a policy that requires one of the parties to move on if a relationship happens.What’s not legal, though, is to always have women be the ones who have to leave.As Valentine’s Day approaches, there’s an uptick in whiteboard hearts and watercooler gossip.Love is in the air alright, but chances are, it’s been there all year long: 56% of business professionals say they’ve been in relationships with coworkers.