Is it ever okay to mix business and pleasure? 

When thinking about romance in the workplace, one immediately thinks about the scandalous trysts that take place at the annual Christmas party! (Think Love Actually).

According to a London survey, 10 percent of respondents had started a relationship at the Christmas function. Of those, 25 percent had eventually married their co-worker. That leaves 75 percent feeling slightly embarrassed at the start of the new year! 

So how do you keep the fine balance between business and pleasure?

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Business comes first

The first rule of thumb is to make sure your job and your work are your top priorities. When building relationships in the workplace, make sure that they relate to the work at hand. 

Should you find that a relationship is developing into something more, think carefully about the potential consequences. 

Even if it doesnâ??t develop into a romantic relationship, a close friendship could compromise the working relationship. 

If youâ??re a manager, you could be seen as showing favouritism to a staff member, allowing them to get away with doing a sub-standard job. 

Keep your distance emotionally

Donâ??t treat your business associates as friends. Developing general friendships with your co-workers is encouraged, but your professional relationships should always win over. 

There is a difference between caring about the people with whom you work, and building long term friendships with them. 

Remember that you are all at the office to do your jobs. Too much chatting between friends, combined with a lack of strong leadership can affect productivity. 

Your work should never suffer as a result of any business-related friendships you forge.

Donâ??t date anyone at work

While flirting with the hot guy at the water cooler can be very tempting, relationships in the workplace can get complicated. 

If the relationship breaks down, your feelings of bitterness and resentment towards your colleague can affect the quality of your work. 

Awkward situations between ex-partners can affect group dynamics in the office, often dividing colleagues between the two sides.

Although you might not mean for your relationship to affect your work situation, it will always have some kind of impact. 

Make sure that you think about the consequences, and the effects that your relationship could have on the rest of your colleagues. 

Define work relationships vs friendships

Friends often go into business together. You might even find yourself employing a friend. In these situations, it is important that you define the business relationship outside of the friendship. 

Have an agreement between yourselves that you will keep your work life and your private life separate. 

Although you can put these measures in place, it is difficult to remember that â??business is businessâ? in the heat of the moment. 

Conflict between friends may arise when their ideas are rejected, or they donâ??t get that promotion they wanted.