Many people warn against it, and lots of companies have policies in place designed to prevent it, but darned if these things don’t make it all the more tempting to bang a co-worker.
The days are long and you see more of each other than you do of anyone else; it’s only natural that your work weary minds turn to thoughts of getting it on.
The problem is, your workplace is essentially a fish tank that once shat in remains dirty, at least until circumstances (most likely beyond your control) call for some employee turnover.
Unless you put some protective measures in place, your post-hookup workaday life could turn from a boring and uninspired annoyance to a stink-ridden hell on earth. Here are a few things you can do to hopefully keep that from happening.
Keep Work and Play Separate
Try to keep it professional while you’re at work. Don’t sneak off to the supply closet for a quickie or make suggestive comments about the coffee creamer. On the flip side, don’t talk about work stuff outside of office hours. Keep your hookups as fun and casual and sex-focused as possible.
It helps to have lots of other things going on in your life that will prevent you from growing too attached to your co-worker, though let’s face it. If you had lots going on, you probably wouldn’t have to look to other workers at the cube farm for sex. Just do your best not to complicate your life entirely.
Don’t Share the Details with other Co-workers
Even if Dave from Accounting is a great guy with whom you regularly go for beers and share stories from your dating life, keep your workplace affair to yourself. You never know who Dave might tell, or how that piece of information could eventually affect your career or the career of your hookup partner.
Discretion is probably the most important factor in keeping things functioning well in workplace hookups.
Be Aware of Workplace Policies and Hierarchies
Some managers take a stance against workplace hanky-panky while others don’t care. If you’re going to engage in some, at least know what you’re risking for it. Also, be aware of power dynamics and the ethical implications of sleeping with someone who relies on you for job-related feedback or a salary.
If you can, choose a partner who is at the same level as you in the office hierarchy, though I know we can’t exactly choose who we’re attracted to.
Discuss an Exit Strategy
Hopefully things will go smoothly for you and your hookup, but we all know that where sex is involved, that’s not always the case. Don’t be afraid to talk about the possibility of a falling out and come up with a plan for handling it.
Remaining low profile at work will go a long way towards making your bedroom drama more manageable, but it won’t make it any easier to face your hookup the next day in a meeting.
Workplace hookups are complicated things, yet no matter how many times we’re reminded of that, we continue to engage in them. The best thing any of us can do is enter into things with some knowledge of how to handle the difficulties.