It's been said that most people in this world want two things above all else: to make money and to find love. So it only makes sense it's becoming more common for coworkers to start dating in the workplace.
Office taboos aside, who wouldn't want to have their best buddy from work become their S.O. as well? According to Business Insider, more than half of American working professionals have participated in an office romance of some variety, with women as the more likely gender to engage in a relationship with a coworker. Those stats mean the chances of you (or someone you know) having an office fling is pretty likely.
We talked to several relationship and career experts to get their advice on everything you need to know about getting close with your cubicle buddy.
1. DO: Accept That You'll Likely Be Attracted To Someone At Work
Dr. Helen Fisher, Match.com's official chief scientific officer, says that people tend to fall in love with someone they're physically around and who also share the same goals, values, educational background and intelligence. Combine all these factors into one, and your office essentially becomes a petri dish of love life possibility.
Fisher's recent research has found that nearly one in three millennial women start romantic relationships at work, so if you catch someone glancing at you from the water cooler, it's all thanks to science.
2. DO: Be Wary Of Hooking Up With A Close Colleague
Spending more than 40 hours per week in the same room as the hunk who sits nearby might sound like a dream, but if your hot and heavy hookups suddenly turn sour, you still have to work alongside him or her. TopResume's Career Management Expert Amanda Augustine says she has witnessed relationships both blossom and implode at the workplace, and cautions against starting a close connection if you're not sure there's potential for a long-term attraction.
Fisher agrees. "If you're looking to have a one night stand or a temporary fling, look somewhere else. There are plenty of people out there you can hook up with without starting a potentially not-so-great office romance."
Monster.com Career Expert Vicki Salemi advises against work relationships in general, but if you're going to go for it regardless, she recommends avoiding getting too close with teammates or people who work in your same department.
"The worst thing you can do is start a thing with someone you have to work with every day," says Salemi. "If things go wrong, you might not be able to get over it very quickly, and you may even contemplate getting a new job!"
Additionally, it might be more than a faux pas or awkward one night stand if your workplace has rules against dating within the workplace. Be sure you're aware of the rules, and if hookups are a no-no, be ready to leave your job if you decide to take things with a colleague to the next level.
3. DON'T: Definitely Don't Date Your Boss
Is there's one cardinal rule of office romance to follow, it's this one: Romancing your boss would get really messy pretty quickly... and in most cases, could even be a red flag for HR.
"It can get really dangerous if you and your boss get romantically involved and are not on the same page," says Fisher. "You could get treated at work differently, and if word gets around about your relationship without your consent, you have an entirely different issue on your hands."
Augustine says to avoid getting involved with your boss at all costs. Both of your professional reputations could be at risk if you're not careful, and this type of behavior can even have legal implications.
While the heart wants what it wants, getting involved with a superior could spell serious trouble for you—differing paychecks and workplace etiquette included.
4. DON'T: Engage In PDA At The Office
If you cringe at the sight of hand-holding in public, can you fathom openly displays of affection in your work space? Even if it's just a peck on the cheek or a quick hug by the elevator, you should definitely avoid all types of PDA at work at all costs.
"Even if everyone in the office knows you're an item, don't go flaunting it," says Salemi. "You could make your other coworkers feel uncomfortable or even hurt your own productivity."
"Nobody wants to see you playing footsie under the conference room table," says Augustine. "Your personal life and professional brand should never clash, no matter how much you like your coworker."
5. DO: Decide When To Become Office Official
Once you've determined your flirtation has passed the fling stage, you and your coworker/partner must mutually decide when it's appropriate to let the rest of your team know about your dating status (or not).
"It's better to wait until you have a firm grasp on the situation before you go broadcasting your personal life," advises Augustine. "If things don't work out, you'll have to face that awkwardness head on."
Salemi recommends making an office relationship known to the public in a tasteful fashion, such as a quiet announcement at lunch. A personal issue like your love life doesn't require sending a company-wide email or approaching every coworker individually.
6. DO: Embrace The Situation If It's Right For You
For some people, a successful career is their first real love, and any other relationship comes second. Some people are lucky enough to find both in the same place!
Your soulmate could coincidentally share a cubicle with you, but it's up to your discretion whether or not you should look for a different opportunity to let the relationship grow, according to Augustine. Love works in mysterious ways, and if it happens to strike at work, just make sure you're prepared.