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Can you find love at the office?

As Valentine's Day approaches, our thoughts turn to love; the finding of it, sustaining it, and unfortunately sometimes ending it.

So many people spend many hours at work that it's inevitable that people will form friendships that may go onto become a romantic relationship. Plus, when people work together, they automatically have something in common; being in similar careers, there's a chance that both parties are like-minded and have similar interests. Even if they don't work together regularly, they can still discuss (or dis) colleagues and bosses.

According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 39% of employees said they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career; 17% reported dating co-workers at least twice. Almost a third (30%) of those people said they had gone on to marry the person.

And as love at work is on the rise, employers are responding to that trend with new policy guidelines. More than twice as many employers have written or verbal polices on office romances than in 2005, reported SHRM, which canvassed 380 HR professionals July 9-26, 2013. In 2005, 20 percent of respondents had such policies; in the most recent survey, 42 percent did.

If Cupid's arrow strikes you on the job, here's some dos and don'ts:

DO

  • Find your company’s policies about relationships at work. Supervisor-subordinate romances are nearly always forbidden, as charges of favoritism and other issues that carry potential legal risks. Some employers have policies on other workplace romances.
  • Speak up. If your relationship continues, tell your boss or HR before they hear it through the grapevine.
  • Be professional and discreet. Make sure your job performance isn't impacted in a negative way.

DON'T

  • Speak too soon. There's no need to tell anyone at the office after the first date.
  • No public displays of affection.
  • If the one or both employees are privy to confidential information, no pillow talk.
  • Use company office space to...well, you know. Security guards and cameras often document liaisons .

May you find your valentine--perhaps at the office.