I know this might seem l like a silly question…I have been flirting with a guy in my coworking space. We have pretty different schedules, but still – is there any basic etiquette for dating within a space – like there is for traditional offices?
Cupid is Coworking – London ♥
CoworkingBasics is a fortnightly column by Anna Cashman, market research and social media person for Deskwanted – online portal to find and book coworking spaces worldwide. Are you a coworker, coworking space operator, or just want to know more about coworking? Email her your questions.
Dear Cuipid is Coworking,
There are different rules for dating in a coworking space compared to a traditional office (and thus yet another advantage of working in the former). This is because – quite simply – coworkers aren’t colleagues. The line between your profession and social lives therefore can’t be breached. Plus – most people use coworking spaces to expand their networks… no-one ever said romantic relationships were off-limits!
There are of course the rules that apply to all spaces – work-oriented and otherwise. You can’t pull Costanza ‘was that wrong?’ on this one. The rules of engagement in a coworking space are like any social setting. (Though it may lead to decreased productivity and leave you a little distracted), flirting and light displays of affection are fine. A 20-minute make-out session at the coffee machine is not. Be mindful of the fact that there are others who mightn’t appreciate the romantic exchanges (another jealous gentleman, perhaps?); just because you’re not wearing a suit, doesn’t mean you don’t have to be professional.
While it’s ok to pursue a fellow coworker, there are of course risks involved with starting a relationship with a fellow community member. The healthy romance-work divide still applies here (like the work-life divide; a reason many choose to work in coworking spaces to begin with). Even though you follow different schedules, if the relationship becomes serious you might find that seeing one another each day at ‘work’ gets a bit much.
Alternately, don’t discount the possibility for the relationship turning sour. Bumping into an ex everyday isn’t particularly conducive to constructive work, and you may begin to associate your coworking space with unpleasantness. These risks considered, starting a relationship is like building any great thing: will never happen unless you try!
Who knows? If you keep it up, you may find a bunch of roses on your coworking desk on Valentine’s Day. If you’re a flexible member, just make sure they’re actually for you!
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