When you are single and you end up spending almost half of your day with another single person, how to not fall in love without complications? An office romance in the pandemic can be a dangerous proposition and even if everything is mutually agreed upon, it is almost impossible to escape the office gossip. A sensible person would argue that it’s about rationale and self-control at work, but when you end up spending 8-10 hours online or in-person (depending on your working conditions) almost every day of your adult life – things might get out of control.
Let’s be real about feelings, shall we?
While office romance has always been considered a bad idea, worse after the #MeToo movement; in 2020, singles at the workplace find themselves on the horns of a dilemma – and no one really knows if this self-imposed restriction can lead to any good or fuel frustration furthermore. When we decided to broach the subject, the most common response was no one wants to date a colleague openly now because it’s frowned upon by the management. But, we all know the matters of the heart are far more complicated. In the pandemic, the chances of dating digitally seem to be the only safe option for working professionals as work from home is here to stay. However, even while you digitally romance or flirt using modern technologies like texting, calling, sexting, and exchanging audio-visual notes, be extra careful because despite social distancing it could be a risky affair.
From colleagues to a couple – Treading a fine line
No matter how much effort you put in keeping yourself all-professional, personally-aloof, down-to-business kind of person at work, it is rather difficult (and in most cases -impossible) to avoid a natural human emotion. There is nothing wrong with developing feelings for a colleague, but the devil lies in pursuing that feeling and asking that colleague out. While you are text or send out a personal email from an office device, remember that it can be used against you by the management. Watch out for the language and be mindful of office decorum.
For people working together at similar levels or designation or with whom one has a relation of colleague-cum-friend, it might seem easier. However, for people working at top/ senior levels in the organization, it is rather difficult and riskier because the higher you sit, the deeper you fall. There have been cases where office relationships didn’t work out, and one of the partners filed a sexual harassment case against the other. It is better to be safe than sorry.
While you may be an optimistic person and may believe in your love, it is always better to be careful. If possible, inform your boss/ manager formally about your relationship, inform one or two colleagues maybe. Only when you are certain of your feelings for your colleague, go ahead and express it. Choose your words carefully if you want to ask out a colleague, and most importantly, if the answer is no, stop trying.
Also read “Sex and the Pandemic“