Are your colleagues having a secret office romance? It’s time to play love detective.
Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t date your coworkers, which is probably why many choose to keep their relationships secret. According to the 2017 Annual CareerBuilder Valentine’s Day Survey, 38% of office workers who have had an office romance kept it secret.
Why? Perhaps they think it will affect their careers. Perhaps they just don’t want to be the subject of office gossip.
When you notice something going on between your coworkers, should you care? You might think that it’s none of your business, but these relationships do affect the whole team, especially if it’s between a colleague and your (shock horror!). Mixing romance with work often leads to conflict and bias, among other complications, which is why it pays to be aware of the different dynamics in your team.
The signs of office romance
So how can you tell if your coworkers are secretly dating? Here are some signs to watch out for.
1. Both are suddenly staying late at the office
Until last month, your colleagues—let’s call them Kate and Peter—hardly ever did any overtime, but now both are staying late at the office almost every day. Are they working on a big project? No. Should you be suspicious? Maybe.
2. They go to loooots of meetings together
When Kate and Peter go out of the office for business meetings, they might very well be doing just that. But apart from that, they could also be taking every opportunity to spend one-on-one time together—on the clock.
3. They leave and arrive at the office a few minutes apart (but never together)
So you’ve noticed that Kate and Peter keep arriving at the office around the same time. They also happen to leave the office just a few minutes apart. This could just be an indication of routines that just happen to match up, but why don’t they ever leave together?
4. They avoid each other
Kate and Peter seemed to get along pretty well, but now they seem to be going out of their way to avoid each other. They also look like they’re avoiding eye contact. What’s the deal?
They could be consciously trying to throw you off their trail. Or they might be having a little lovers’ spat. Either way, there is a sudden disturbance in the force and it’s throwing off the whole team’s vibe.
5. They care more about their appearance
Anyone within a 2-metre radius of Peter has smelled his new cologne, and it’s actually not bad. If he didn’t spray so much of it. And Kate’s figure-hugging dress has been turning heads all over the office. Who might they be trying to impress, you wonder.
6. They take their vacation and sick leaves on the same days
The first time Kate and Peter fell sick on the same day, you thought to yourself, “maybe it’s just a coincidence.” But when you noticed that most of their vacation days matched up, that made you think that there might be something going on there. And you might very well be right.