Office romances are inevitable. As sure as the toner running out in the printer, people will always be doing it in the stationery cupboard.
But it doesn't all have to be drama, explains Match.com's relationship expert Kate Taylor. Going out with a colleague can have surprising benefits, but the situation can be tricky to handle.
Here Kate explains her top tips for avoiding a bad office romance...
1. Assume that everyone will find out. If that's frightening or worrying, stop the relationship before it starts. If you're asked directly about your relationship with a colleague, be honest in your response. Office gossip is inevitable, but a straight-forward answer will keep speculation to a minimum.
2. Try to date people on the same level as you, career-wise. Dating up could be seen as giving you an unfair advantage over other colleagues, while dating-down could affect how seriously you are taken at work.
3. Be selective. While work can be a great place to meet people, don't think of it as an unlimited dating pool. If you want to be taken seriously, choose your dates carefully – you can only get away with a couple of romances in the same office environment.
4. Conduct all your dates outside office hours. No smoochy lunches and avoid leaving early together. Seeing you happy on company time may make your colleagues resentful and any indignity on your part could be seen as unprofessional
5. Check the company policy. Before you dive in head first, check there are no contractual restrictions. If there are, you'll need to decide whether you should move departments or into another role. I'd say love is important enough to prioritise over one specific job. Statistics suggest that a good relationship will give you good mental health, a longer lifespan and boost your career success long-term, so weigh up those options when you're deciding whether or not to apply for a position in another company.
6. Deal with an office break-up in private. If the worst happens and the relationship doesn't end well, keep your composure at work. Discuss the details to death with your friends, but go to work looking the best you can. People will judge how well you're coping by how you look.