Cubicle Love Connection
On-the-job romance even offers pluses on a professional level. Working with a lover can increase productivity and drive, says Charles Pierce, an industrial psychology professor at Montana State University.(1) Enthusiasm and romantic energy may be channeled into job responsibilities, and we may work especially hard to demonstrate to our lover that we’re ambitious and committed in our endeavors.
An accountant from San Francisco, who preferred to remain nameless, says, “Working with my boyfriend is great…. I’ve seen admirable qualities in him that I might not have seen outside the office.” Many workplace couples also are more willing to put in longer hours and overtime when they can do so with their partner, and a few pairs even say that living and working together is the key in balancing their social lives with their careers.(2)
“I’m less likely to take a sick day just to spend time with my boyfriend, since he and I have the same schedule and vacation days,” the accountant admitted.
But despite how enticing it may be to steal a quick smooch in the mailroom, getting involved in an office romance also has its downsides and dangers.
The downside—legal and otherwise
The most daunting obstacle to office romance is the possible legal repercussions of such an involvement. While most companies today have adopted fairly lax policies on workplace relationships, some still have strict policies that they enforce. Enforcement can mean a transfer or, in extreme cases, dismissal. However, the general precedent is that as long as productivity and efficiency aren’t impacted by the relationship, it’s treated as any other work relationship would be.
Usually more troublesome than legal issues are the personal difficulties encountered in the course of a coworker romance. The reality is that a workplace relationship can very easily put an individual’s career in jeopardy.