The agency guide to dating your coworkers

Agency life means long hours — which can potentially have serious health consequences — but, hey, it can also mean a built-in love life.

There are no studies that point to agency staffers being more likely to become involved with coworkers, but anecdotally intra-office romances appear more prevalent within agencies.

“Dating in the office is pretty common because these are your friends, and you never go home anyways,” said one anonymous agency staffer. “In our agency, it’s a select group of smart, good-looking folks — dating is only natural. I feel it’s pretty common, but people normally will only become public after it’s really serious.”

Last year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked agency couples to share their stories of agency courtship and love. Aww. This year, to celebrate everyone’s favorite Hallmark holiday, we asked agency folks who have experience dating at their agencies to share tips and advice on how to pull off romancing agency co-workers. We let them speak anonymously for all the obvious reasons. But for you single agency people looking for a date this Valentine’s Day, before you start courting your co-worker, check out these tips from folks who have experience, well, um, dipping their pens in the company ink:

Don’t jump the gun.
“Wait until the project has launched before you take it to the next level,” said one male copywriter (not, it should be noted, this male copywriter). “Working closely together on a project makes for some strong bonds, but going from flirty friends/co-workers to something legit can be tricky. Do your teammates a favor, and keep it on the professional side until the work everyone’s put so much time and effort into has launched. Anticipation makes the heart grow fonder, and post-launch parties have seen some epic hookups.”

Birds of a feather shouldn’t flock together.
“Being too alike can be a bad thing: Intra-office dating is one thing, intra-department dating is a whole other ballgame,” the copywriter told Digiday. “Being able to keep your work and personal lives separate is critical when dating someone in the same office, and that challenge increases exponentially when you’re in direct competition for the CD spot on a top account (or, cupid forbid, working under your significant other).”

Don’t be that couple.
“It’s important that you keep your professionalism, have lunch with your colleagues instead of your boyfriend/girlfriend all the time,” said a female producer. “The whole office don’t need to participate/see on your honeymoon. Keep that for your private lives!”

Don’t forget social network etiquette.
“If you’re going to change your Facebook status, maybe tell your boss first (who is also your Facebook friend!),” cautioned the producer.

Go your own way.
“Don’t commute together,” suggested one copywriter who is married to someone at his agency. “Is that bad for the environment? Probably. Is it better for our relationship? Also probably. Our morning commute is our alone time. I use it to listen to the news, call my mom or blast music. Two of which would drive my wife crazy –I’m not saying which two.”

Good luck keeping it secret.
“Everybody already knows, so don’t worry too much about hiding your relationship: A close-knit, collaborative office can resemble a small town,” pointed out another male copywriter. “Your co-workers saw you flirting in the kitchen, overheard you chatting at the bar, and your staggered schedule is a little obvious. It’s totally possible to maintain professionalism and decorum in the workplace, but denying the gossip will likely only add fuel to the fire.”

Or … just don’t work together.
“Circle job openings in the newspaper, and leave it on their bedside,” advised one female copywriter.

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