For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

I’m Werking On My…

I’m Werking On My…

Love on the clock: workplace romances
By Eva Millett

Workplace romances. Office romances, office affairs, whatever you want to call it. The dating scene of the workplace is forever causing a stir amongst colleagues, providing endless amounts of gossip for the team to entertain themselves with. But as a young female entering the workplace, is it really something you want to get yourself tied up in? 

Electric glances, a brush of the knee or unspoken moments at the drinks social can make work all the more exciting. Even for those who’ve landed a career they love, the monotony of daily life going to work can cause wear and tear on us all, so who wouldn’t want a little suttin suttin’ in the office to help pass the time?

But the reality of an office fling is not always so pretty. Your feelings can quickly become other people’s gossip. Corridor whispers and prying eyes across the room eventually lead to the whole team knowing about your secret and suddenly it’s not all so fun.

But amongst the stresses and anxieties, can it sometimes actually lead to a happy relationship? We spoke to Megan, aged 24 from Birmingham who advocates for a workplace romance having been in a two-year relationship that all started in her part-time uni hospitality job. 

“I can totally see how it would be awkward if things break off. But I think it’s good to meet someone at work, you naturally have a common interest and that’s the workplace,” says Megan. 

She was 22 when she started her hospitality job during the final year of her degree at Bath Spa University. Branded immediately as the ‘new girl’, after her trial shift with mentor Tom, he immediately said after her shift she’d secured the job. She sensed he fancied her straight away. 

Tom got Megan’s number from the work Whatsapp groupchat. “He said ‘What time do you finish on Tuesday?’ But he obviously knew because he had the rota. I text back and said ‘Oh, I’m finishing at five,’’’ says Megan. 

“He replied and said ‘That’s funny, I finish at five too. Do you want to have a drink after work?’. I said yes thinking I’m new, let’s make friends, not a date. He asked me out on a date and I didn’t realise.” 

Megan’s date that she didn’t realise was a date turned out to be a work drinks with the team. Her and Tom spent the evening getting to know each other in the group and their romance progressed from there. 

Megan posing for a photo on a romantic getaway with her boyfriend.
Megan posing for a photo on a romantic getaway with her boyfriend

She said: “I wasn’t too fussed about any judgement because I was still new, I didn’t know the people at the time. We did start seeing each other properly and people did ask a lot of questions. 

“People did get very involved. They’d all worked there for a really long time with him so they’d formed these tight, close friendships. They knew all about his previous dating history so felt like they could get involved a lot which he didn’t like.”

Megan said the chatty, open dynamic of her workplace made it an easier topic for people to gossip about. “They were a really close group which I’d joined but I didn’t want to be super open with these people I didn’t know,” says Megan. 

After a few months of dating, Tom was promoted and became a manager. This changed the dynamic of their relationship in and around the work setting, meaning things between them swiftly broke off. 

Megan said: “We cut things off because it was a weird dynamic at work once he became a manager. He had a lot more responsibilities so I didn’t like how he was towards me. He treated me differently outside of work than inside and we were also together quite a few days of the week so I just didn’t really like it.”

After a few months off, Megan and Tom rekindled their romance, choosing second time round to keep things a little more secret. “We kept it secret because of the gossip. Everyone loves to know about two people at work seeing each other. It’s interesting. Not every workplace is exciting so it’s something to talk about.” says Megan. 

For some, a short fling in the workplace can make for an awkward ordeal further down the line. If conversations aren’t had surrounding the ‘what if’s’, for example, if things don’t work out can we handle seeing each other every day? Parties end up on different pages, and suddenly your co-workers are between a rock and a hard place in picking camps. 

Since the on-off initial stage of Megan and Tom’s dating, they’ve now been happily together for two years, and no longer work at the same place.

She said: “Even if it had just been a fling I’d still try not to regret it. I try not to regret things in life, so even if it didn’t work out it’s what I wanted in the moment.

“A lot of relationships start online, personally I’d rather meet someone in person, you can get their vibe straight away, which you can’t always get over social media.” 

Megan and her boyfriend weren’t officially together before they broke things off the first time, after their dynamic changed once Tom got promoted, things “fizzled out” according to Megan. 

“The night we broke things off there was a barbeque. I was working so I couldn’t have gone anyway. But I felt a bit left out. He was there and I felt like it’d been arranged that night because I was working.” says Megan. 

Megan experienced both the ups and downs of a workplace relationship familiar with the anxiety of feeling like you’re the talk of the team, but also experiencing the perks that came alongside her part-time job fling. Meeting someone while on shift allowed her to experience a new person organically and naturally, in an environment where you have to be professional, but can still be yourself and enjoy getting to know new people. 

The hospitality industry populated by lots of students and part-time workers could be the perfect place for your dazzling workplace romance? Bonding with your fellow colleague on the bar over funny customer encounters could actually be a really organic way to connect with someone over something light-hearted.

As an advocate for non-social media initiated romances, Megan is happy with the circumstances in which she met her now long-term boyfriend. Whether it’s hospitality or the office, the key is to balance love and professionalism, keeping communication open and the boundaries clear. If you find yourself smitten with a colleague, you might find mixing business and pleasure leads to a perfect partnership both in and out the work setting. Happy working, and maybe a little loving too!

If you’re interested in finding out more about relationships at work and how to navigate them, read –