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In today’s day and age, people spend more time at work with their co-workers than they do at home with their families, spouses and friends. It is only natural for them to thereby, spend time with fellow co-workers which often leads to learning more about their interests, personal lives, and likes and dislikes. This sometimes can inevitably lead to the formation of close bonds and friendships which can stem into potential romantic and intimate relationships in the near future.  

Explanations for how workplace relationships develop are based on social and psychological theories of repeated exposure, interpersonal attraction, emotions, social exchange, and group dynamics. The main antecedent factors that explain the formation of romances between two employees include their degree of physical and functional proximity, repeated social interactions with one another, and job autonomy. 

There is often a fair amount of stigma attached to dating a co-worker in your workplace, which is why most office relations are kept a secret. On the other hand, the few that decide to not mix work and relationships, do so to avoid losing their job, becoming uncomfortable at work which would plummet their work efficiency and performance, and to avoid stress and anxiety.

Furthermore, if the relationship does not work it could take an emotional toll on both the co-workers involved in the relationship, causing unavoidable drama and inefficiency in the workplace.

Often, one might think relationships with other co-workers may not affect their office environment, but inevitably it puts the two individuals in a confusing and often peculiar situation. It can lead to potential conflicts and legalities that can lead to job loss or demotion.

It is crucial for both partners to, therefore, establish clear boundaries between their work and personal lives to avoid any unforeseen challenge in the future. It is also good to encourage transparency wherein, if two employees start dating, they should avoid keeping it a secret. This is a tricky situation, but it is essential to maintain basic decorum and professionalism.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies

By Dr Rachna Khanna Singh

Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, the Senior Fellow with DRaS is a Mental Wellness Expert, a TEDx Talk speaker, focused on Relationship, Lifestyle & Stress Management. She heads the Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon and the Founder and Director of The Mind & Wellness Studio, Delhi & NGO ‘Serve Samman’. Dr Rachna is a visiting lecturer and faculty member of various esteemed educational institutes worldwide such as IIM, IIT, BITS PILANI, Delhi University, NMIMS, Amity University, Himachal Medical Colleges, University of Exeter, University of Minnesota, Royal College of Physicians, etc.