Is It OK to Date a Coworker?

June 23, 2020

A job in insurance can sometimes involve long days spent working side by side with other colleagues and sometimes, events in the evening.  As coworkers spend more time together, they may begin to share more life experiences and build a personal relationship with one another.  This situation can sometimes be the perfect recipe for two employees to develop stronger feelings and a desire to pursue a romantic relationship.  

Office romances are nothing new, but there is a good chance that this is unfamiliar territory for most people.  Before the relationship gets too serious, there are a few essential things you will want to keep in mind.

1.)   Make sure you understand the agency policy regarding workplace relationships.  Some agencies have stringent policies that prohibit employees from dating one another.   And if the feelings are one-sided, continuing to pursue any non-work-related relationship with a coworker can quickly turn into a harassment issue.    It is critical that you understand any guidelines the agency has in place and to proceed accordingly.  If the agency has banned inner-office dating and you decide to continue the relationship anyway, you will want to make sure you are fully aware of the consequences.   

2.)   Be honest about the relationship.  This does not mean you are required to make an announcement to the company after the first date.  However, attempting to hide a romance long-term can make the rest of your coworkers uncomfortable, spark unnecessary office gossip, and generate a lack of trust once people find out about the relationship.   

Explaining the relationship to a supervisor or manager first is the best place to start.  Your manager should be able to provide clarification about any company policies or office protocols you may not be aware of. Informing them of the relationship also allows them to assess how closely you and the other person work together and if other arrangements need to be made.   Lastly, a supervisor should be able to give some guidance as to how to let the others in the office know about the relationship.

3.)   Discuss workplace boundaries.  Whether the relationship is going well, or there is some stress involved, the rest of your colleagues should not get caught up in the circumstances of your relationship on any given day.  In other words, the status of your relationship should never interfere with work.

Talking through and setting rules and boundaries for work is essential on so many levels.   Healthy boundaries will ensure that you are conscientious of how coworkers may feel. It also will help make sure your focus is on work and that your professionalism is not called into question.  And if things do not work out without the relationship, having the boundaries established will make the adjustment a little smoother at work post-breakup.

Romantic relationships with a coworker can be tricky to navigate.  Following these guidelines will help ensure you’re able to keep both work and romance in check.

To get more thoughts on this topic, check out the full episode of The Independent Agent below!

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