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Attraction in the workplace presents a variety of obstacles, particularly if you’re being supervised by or supervise the person you're attracted to, or if either one of you is married or otherwise committed. Workplace attractions have the potential to decrease productivity and attention to detail and should be handled with great caution. Follow your company's best practices for handling inter-office relationships.
Downplay the Cute Factor
An attractive co-worker has the potential to fluster even the most seasoned business professional. Attempt to remove your physical feelings from your professional capacity by focusing on the cute co-worker as an individual colleague. Go out of your way, if necessary, to treat the cute co-worker just as you do any other colleague. Even a perception of preferential treatment or favor has the potential to create strife in the office.
Even if you tell yourself you're just being friendly to a cute co-worker, if you know you have underlying feelings of attraction, be careful about the type of body language and verbal cues you use when interacting with this person. Err on the side of caution and avoid engaging in overly personal conversation, flirtatious exchanges or venturing into inappropriate areas, like off-color jokes or sexual innuendos.
Avoid One-on-One Scenarios
If you have the option, try to avoid working in a one-on-one situation with a colleague you find yourself attracted to. This sets the stage for potential inappropriate exchanges and should be avoided if other options are available. Instead, opt for group work or pair yourself with another colleague to ensure your focus remains professional.
If your cute colleague is your boss, or you supervise her work, the situation becomes much more tenuous. For best results, maintain a professional, yet cordial relationship at all times. Limit the amount of conversation that's unrelated to business, don't comment on appearance or attire, avoid the perception of favor, limit physical contact and don't discuss your feelings of attraction with anyone else in the office. This puts you at risk for becoming fodder for the office rumor mill.
Because of the significant amount of time people spend in work environments, many office relationships eventually develop. If both you and the cute colleague are unattached, and are interested in pursuing a personal or romantic relationship, consult your company’s human resources department about company policy that dictates inter-office relationships. Consider the uncomfortable work environment that could result if you pursue a relationship that doesn't work out.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.