"The policy seemed to be: If you're dating and still doing your job, we don't care," he says.The truth is, "even if there are rules, people will hook up anyway," admits Green."Reporting a relationship improves your odds of avoiding an awkward situation when word gets out," says Green. Jennifer, 25, an accountant, kept quiet about her relationship—until she and her boyfriend were assigned to the same project."HR reassigned one of us due to 'scheduling.' It actually let us tell people when we were ready, and any stress we felt went away."Be Aggressive About Boundaries It's natural to think about how an office romance will affect your career, but the fact that you work together will also affect your , so make sure to draw a line between work life and love life.An easy fix is to act professionally and, when you're together, keep the door open."Otherwise," says workplace consultant Nicole Williams, who married—and later divorced—her boss, "people wonder what you might be planning." Stephanie, 30, a Houston attorney, works with her husband at a law firm, and they obey a strict no-touching policy that imposed.Relationships with coworkers at your level or in different departments are less of a headache, and policies tend to reflect that.
"People are out with long knives for the happy couple," says Green.Tell Your Company Another rule of office relationships: If things get serious, disclose.Yes, it's embarrassing, but you'll be glad you did.But they exchanged a few texts, then graduated to friendly lunches.Eventually Matt asked Sarah on a date, and they talked for so long that the sushi restaurant had to kick them out.No, Really: Avoid the Boss According to HR consultant Laurie Ruettimann, most written policies prohibit employees from dating only a direct boss or subordinate. Experts spoke with discourage manager-subordinate romances because they create the perception (or reality) of favoritism; in a worst-case scenario, both parties could be fired or dragged through a harassment lawsuit.