Fotolia.com"> Office romances can distract co-workers if they are too conspicuous romance image by Tomasz Wojnarowicz from Fotolia.com The decision to date a co-worker is one that many unattached working adults make at some point in their lives. With long hours, commutes, and other responsibilities, it can be difficult to find time to meet people outside of work, making office dating an attractive option. If you decide to date a co-worker, there are ways to help minimize repercussions at work and in your relationship. Company Policy Different companies have different policies on office relationships. In some companies, it may be against the rules for a worker to date his or her boss that they report to directly. Even if it is technically allowed for a boss to date an employee, this can create tension in the relationship. Before engaging in any office relationships, brush up on your company's dating policies to make sure that you play by the rules. If you have any questions, your company's human resources representatives may be able to provide useful information and guidance. Productivity One potential problem of an office relationship is its potential impact on productivity. The saying "Don't mix work with play" exists for a reason: Having your significant other nearby at all times may make it more difficult to stay focused on work-related tasks. Even if you resolve to stay focused, chances are you will spend a few extra minutes a day chatting with your significant other --- time which could be spent doing something useful. This may mean that you will have to compensate by staying at work a little bit longer. If you or your partner find that your relationship is having a significant negative affect on your work performance, it may be best to end the relationship. Public Affection Aside from your own productivity, an office relationship can affect the attitudes and productivity of co-workers. Office relationships are likely to be a topic of gossip and it may change the attitude that your coworkers and your boss have of you. To limit the impact of office relationships, it is a good idea to keep romantic interactions to a minimum while at the office. Co-workers may also be distracted if they see hugging, kissing, or other public displays of affection. Plan Ahead Dating a co-worker can have far-reaching affects, so it is important to plan ahead in case the relationship causes problems at work. Talk to the person your plan to date and agree upon the terms of your relationship ahead of time. Your intentions should be made clear from the beginning, and you should agree on how you will be able to carry on at work in the event that you break up. Working with an ex can have a deleterious effect on productivity, but if you agree to remain friends and harbor no hard feelings in advance, it may help you continue working productively if things don't work out with your partner.