The internet is full of bitter articles warning people about workplace romances. This isn’t one of them.
Why are we hating on workplace love? Well, there are tons of reasons and some of those will be mentioned in my post as well. But I think there are also tons of good reasons to have a relationship in the same workplace, once it does feel right at first.
A lot of companies have formal policies on workplace dating and some even ban such relationships. At Toggl, no one’s banned it yet, and why would we? As the company continues to grow, we might need “guidelines” for lovers in the future, but hopefully not anytime soon.
So far, we’ve managed to avoid the Drama.
I think the danger of drama disrupting the workflow is definitely there, but it all depends on the company, as well as on the positions would-be lovers hold within the company.
But who thinks of that when love hits you on the head? I like to say that big decisions need realistic mind, no emotions and no rush. Even if hearts pour out of your ears and sunshine comes out of unicorns’ bottoms, think before you start a relationship with someone working at the same company.
And definitely don’t start it unless you are sure that it will be taking you somewhere. And to be sure of this, you need time.
You’ll need some rules
Once you have made the decision to be in a workplace relationship, a lot of how it works out is in your own hands.
1. Get a room
You don’t have to sit side by side 8 hours a day at the office. In a tech company, you don’t even have to talk while at work. All talking takes place via Slack, and I strongly recommend to keep it work-related most of the time. Basically – at work, be like co-workers. At home, be a couple.
2. Be careful with who you date
It’s very easy to start a relationship in a company, but it is hard to keep one going. Don’t start a relationship if another person holds a higher position over you, or the other way around. Employee-boss relationships are complicated and it’s a matter of time before it starts causing a lot of trouble. Maybe it’ll be weeks, maybe years, but in the end it does. That’s also one of the main reasons why you need to understand the risks, if things don’t go as you wished for.
3. Draw a line between home and work stuff
Another thing – don’t argue at work. Especially about unwashed dishes, missing socks or which couch to buy and which one just won’t do. Leave all these topics home, unless it’s a work related argument/discussion.
The same goes for being at home. It’s not a good idea to bring your work-related arguments home. It might sound cliche, but your home is your castle. A place where you hide from any unpleasant people, work-related problems or whatever makes you unhappy. Everybody inside that castle needs to know this.
The exception that makes it great
I would be lying if I said we never talk about work at home. But if you do it right, it might just be a positive thing.
My friends often ask me: “is there anything else other than work you talk about?” or “isn’t it annoying to see the same face when you wake up, while you’re working and when you go to sleep – and all the time in between?”
A very positive part of working together is that you can always discuss work-related things without being afraid that the other person doesn’t understand you. Or rather, understanding is not the problem, but really getting it requires the same job.
When you are both completely on the same page, you can be open minded about things you might not want to say to the other colleagues at first. In our case, we discuss new features, how to improve things, we generate cool ideas together and mostly, we help each other out with work related stuff. What could be cooler?
Also, if something at Toggl turns out to be more time-consuming than we at first thought, you don’t need to explain why you need to stay at work for longer. What needs to be done, needs to be done and both of us understand this. After a crappy and tiring workday, we never speak about work outside the office. It’s important to know, when it’s time for that.
So now I believe I can come back to a question: “Isn’t it annoying to see the same face when you wake up, while working and when you go to sleep?..And all the time in between?!”
No, it’s the greatest thing ever.
Grethel and Indrek live together and work together. And they are doing just fine.
Grethel knows what she’s talking about. Help her share the love on Twitter!
Need more advice? Psychology Today has this great checklist to see whether a potential romance works out.