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If you must have a love affair at work, here is how you can keep it professional.

If you must have a love affair at work, here is how you can keep it professional.

With Valentine's Day approaching, love is in the air well, if it's in the air at your work place, you should be thinking of how you should always keep it professional if you are dating a workmate. For sure you can’t control where to find love but if found at the work place here are some basic rules that can guide you on how to deal with office romance.

Some actions might seem like minor to you, but they will appear inappropriate to your workmates and will make everyone feel uncomfortable. No hugs, no hand-holding, no kissing and no caressing. Avoid showing off your affection in public reserve this for the two of you while out of the workplace.

You don't want people to speculate on whether you're really talking about closing the sales deal or whether something more personal is going on. While in office just the two of you, keep the door open, and keep a reasonable distance from each other.

Your workmates are already seeing you as a couple, so try as much as possible to emphasize that you are performing your tasks at work independently. Don't sit together at meetings, if you do, people will draw it up to "couple behavior." If you sit apart, people are likely to appreciate the gesture of professionalism.

If someone asks you where your partner is today or why he/she wasn't at that meeting, bounce the inquiry back to your partner. Never let workmates pass messages through you to your partner. In this case just nicely say, "I don't know where he/she is." Or say, "You should check with him/her directly." At work, you're not each other's partners. You're colleagues like everyone else.

If you had a quarrel, or there's some sort of friction in the relationship, it's vital that you both drop it off at the office door when you come to work. That means that you need to speak nicely to each other in meetings and continue to work together harmoniously. It’s unprofessional to involve your work and workmates into your relationship troubles. Always keep matters that come up between the two of you out of the office. 

Finally if you are debating on whether to get involved in an office relationship or not our advice is that you first of all evaluate the cost benefit since office love affairs can disrupt teams, departments, and careers if not dealt with appropriately.

Contributed by: Henry Mubiru Kweba. 

Views expressed by contributors are their own.