5 Tips for Asking Your Coworker Out — Without Getting Fired

5 Tips for Asking Your Coworker Out — Without Getting Fired

Memos and meetings are hardly the makings of an epic romance, but according to CareerBuilder, about 30 percent of office workers do date a coworker at some point — and many of those relationships lead to marriage.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d look into how exactly one might navigate the sometimes murky waters of office romance. Read on to learn how you can turn your coworker into something more, while still protecting your career.


  • Don’t focus on the physical: The line between asking a coworker out and engaging in sexual harassment is unfortunately pretty thin, and even well-intentioned invitations can often be taken the wrong way. To ensure that nothing is misinterpreted, keep your focus off of anything physical when asking your office crush out. For example, rather than saying “I think you’re beautiful/handsome/hot and would like to take you out,” instead say “I find you really interesting, and I’d like the chance to get to know you better.” Not only will this help you avoid charges of sexual harassment, but your crush will likely be more flattered when you compliment their personality over their looks.
  • Start with groups: Remember back in middle school, when kids would go on big group dates rather than coupling off? It turns out that this innocent practice might help you with office dating as well. Suggesting a group outing with several coworkers will help keep the pressure low, and allow you and your crush a more organic way to get to know each other. And if you fear rejection from someone you have to see in the office everyday, this is a good way to ask them out without really asking them out.
  • Know company policy: Many companies have rules about management not dating subordinates, disclosing serious relationships, and not engaging in displays of affection in the workplace. Chances are you were given some sort of handbook or code of conduct when you were first hired at your current job. Now is a good time to review the section on office relationships, so that you can be ahead of the game should things turn serious with your office crush. 
  • Don’t date your boss: It’s easy to develop a crush on your direct superior, especially if you admire their work. But unless you value your potential relationship over your entire career, it is probably best to keep this crush a secret. Most companies frown on it, and every accomplishment (or setback) you have at work will be tainted by the question of whether you truly deserved it.


  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol and other judgment-inhibiting substances can help you loosen up and have fun on a first date, but they can also make you say or do things you might later regret, and that regret can increase tenfold when a coworkers is involved. Until a strong level of trust is established in the relationship, try to avoid overindulging.

With a little forethought, careful wording and smart decision-making, dating a coworker is not only possible — it could be truly rewarding. Good luck asking your office crush out this Valentine’s Day!



LA Techies Disrupt the Snail Mail Industry

Untitled design (9)

Matt Going is no stranger to using technology to make his life more seamless.

The 25-year tech industry veteran is based in Los Angeles, but he also has corporate addresses in San Francisco, New York, and a couple other cities. While the Internet and other technologies have made it possible for him to work from anywhere, one facet of everyday life remained stubbornly archaic for far too long: the postal service.

When Going would receive mail at one of his alternative addresses, he was often left without any convenient options.

“I don’t get a lot of snail mail, but occasionally something very important shows up,” says Going. “What I found was that I rarely received the mail in a timely fashion. If I get a notice from the IRS or a letter from a customer, I want to know that immediately so I can take action.”

This conundrum prompted Going and his colleague Marcel Buechi to form Anytime Mailbox, a mail service that securely provides customers with electronic notifications and images of their incoming mail — directly on their computers, phones or tablets.

“I should be able to see exactly what mail I am getting, and decide what to do with it, all from my phone,” Going says. “The idea of waiting for mail to be re-forwarded to me or driving to pick up my mail is so old-fashioned. We are essentially taking an antiquated service and disrupting it.”

Since its founding in 2013, Anytime Mailbox has spread to over 70 locations in 35 different metro areas, and counts Real Office Centers among its many clients. In addition to receiving mail and scanning mail in a timely fashion, Anytime Mailbox also offers forwarding, check depositing, recycling, shredding, and local pickup at select locations.

“This is how the Pony Express started in the 1800s,” Going says. “I’m proud that we came up with this idea.”

Going hopes to continue growing Anytime Mailbox, reaching new customers across the US and around the world, who want to digitally manage their postal mail from across town or across the globe.

Though Anytime Mailbox is still in its early stages, its partnerships with other innovative services like Real Office Centers should help it grow.

“More and more people are becoming aware of us, and they are always delighted to find out what we can do for them,” Going says. “We are offering a new service that people need, but didn’t know they could have.”


How Entrepreneurs in Chinatown, Honolulu Are Building a New Startup Hub To Watch Out For

Untitled design (29)

For Lauren Primiano, head of venture funds at mbloom, being a member of the Chinatown, Honolulu Real Office Centers location is about more than just having a space to work — it is about being part of a vibrant local startup community.

mbloom, a venture capital fund that launched in 2014, has a strong focus on funding and supporting startup technology companies in the state of Hawaii.

“We’re an early-stage venture fund, and we are the only such fund that is focused on the Hawaiian market,” Primiano says. “Part of the reason for our existence is that we’re funded by partial public funds, as well as private funds. We have money from the state of Hawaii, which was invested as opposed to a grant in us, to show that the state has an equitable share in our fund, just as any other private investor would.”

Some members of mbloom’s portfolio include Fanhandle,a personal brand engagement company; Ozolio, a high definition webcam streaming service; ReadyCart, a commerce revenue program; and Vantage Sports, an analytical tool for athletes and sports programs.

Primiano and her colleagues at mbloom have already noticed a strong surge in the local startup scene since starting two years ago.

“Hawaii is not a Silicon Valley in any regards, but over the last few years, there has been a lot of activity in the startup community here,” she says. “We have a number of accelerator programs, many of which are nationally recognized, that we work with closely.”

An accelerator program is a mentorship and education-based incubator for technology startups, with an end goal of receiving funding from sources like mbloom. Many of the accelerator programs in Honolulu are located in Chinatown, near the ROC location where mbloom has offices.

“Being in ROC Honolulu is a great location for us because we are in walking distance of all of these different accelerator programs,” Primiano says. “I just had coffee with an entrepreneur that is right down the street from ROC, and sometimes people come here as well.”

In fact, the ROC Honolulu Chinatown location is so steeped in startup culture that Primiano plans to include it in a “startup paradise” tour she is giving for the Honolulu: East Meets West technology conference happening this week. It will be one of only five stops.

“We’re really excited to bring that community of people into our environment, and especially into ROC to showcase all of the different tenants,” Primiano says.

The startup tour is just one example of how mbloom seeks to foster community within the Hawaiian startup scene.

“We also host an annual event in Maui called MaiTai Maui Tech Night,” Primiano says. “That is another really good platform for the local startup scene to connect with resources, tech executives and investors.”

The fourth annual MaiTai Maui Tech Night will take place this coming June.

In two short years, mbloom has made a splash in the Hawaiian startup market, and Primiano and her colleagues look forward to continue fostering innovation.

“We are just one piece of the puzzle,” says Primiano, “in terms of all of the different startup activity here.”

10 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Benefit Both Your Work and Personal Lives

Untitled design (23)

2016 is quickly approaching, and for many of us that means it is time to come up with our annual list of New Year’s resolutions. If you are a busy professional trying to balance work and family life, these ten resolutions could help you on both fronts.

  • Exercise More: This is the most popular New Year’s resolution every year, and it is easy to see why — exercise makes you healthier and happier, and can reduce stress and improve your sleep. In short, regular exercise will give you everything you need to succeed both at home and in the office in 2016.
  • Snack Smarter: Rather than cutting out snacks altogether, try eating healthier, protein-packed snacks such as cottage cheese, trail mix or hard boiled eggs. These should keep you fueled all day long, from your morning meeting to date night.
  • Be More Charitable: Whether you volunteer at your local animal shelter or collect canned food for a soup kitchen, getting both your family and workplace involved in a cause is a great way to bond with your loved ones and increase your company’s connection to its surrounding community.
  • Establish a Routine: If you do not have a regular routine in place, it is easy for “non-essentials” like family dinner or employee check-ins to fall through the cracks. Combat this head-on by establishing daily, weekly and monthly routines for 2016.
  • Get Organized: How many times have you had to stay an extra hour in the office because you could not find a crucial document? If this happens to you often, it is time to start living by the simple “a place for everything, and everything in its place” rule.
  • Quit Your Vices: Whether your weakness is tobacco or too much television, finally giving it up will give you more time and energy to focus on more important things, both in your work and personal lives.
  • Save Money: Having a solid nest egg to fall back on is crucial for your family’s security, and it also makes it easier for you to take bold risks in the workplace that you might otherwise not have had the confidence to pull off.
  • Manage Your Stress: Meditation, support groups, exercise — it is important to find whatever works for you in terms of stress relief, and then incorporating it into your daily routine. Balancing work and family life is stressful, and you need a healthy way to relieve that stress.
  • Stop Procrastinating: Whether it is a home DIY project or a new initiative at work, finally tackling those big projects will bring back tangible results, as well as a fair amount of self-satisfaction. Just remember to take each project one day at a time, so that they do not seem too daunting.
  • Improve Your Sleep: Getting a full eight hours can drastically improve your focus and drive, as well as your overall well-being. If you have serious sleep problems, there are plenty of solutions out there, ranging from herbal teas and candles to prescription drugs.

Whatever you hope to accomplish in 2016, staying on top of both your work and personal lives will help you succeed. Think of these resolutions as a road map to a healthier, more balanced life.

Easy Ways to Be Eco-Friendly at Work

Untitled design (21)

A few days ago in Paris, a landmark agreement was reached at the 21st Conference of Parties—COP21. Representatives from around the world came together on a new, eco-friendly framework of regulations that will combat climate change and protect the environment on a global scale. On a local level, we at Real Office Centers have always invested in the small but powerful ways that we can make our office communities environmentally sound. Here are 3 tips on how to be eco-friendly—and how ROC can help!

1. Power down when you’re done. One of the simplest ways we can cut down on energy use is by reducing unneeded electricity. It’s as easy as turning off the lights when you leave a conference room or your office. Try to not leave project screens and TVs on for any longer than you need them, and make sure to turn your computer completely off when you’re done for the day. And at ROC, we make saving electricity even easier with motion-sensor and timed lighting systems.

2. Cut down on commute. The number one environmental threat to be addressed at COP21 was climate change. While entire countries will now adhere to carbon emission regulations, you can also commit to this effort. Long car commutes are just as bad for the planet as they are for your own happiness, so make a win-win decision by biking to work a few times a week. It’s active, eco-friendly, and ROC proudly offers bikes for your convenience. We also support local farmers markets near our office centers and encourage our communities to go local, which helps to cut down the carbon emissions that it takes to transport products.

3.  Reuse and recycle. At ROC, we invest in our sustainable resources by providing convenient, clean kitchens that have dishwashers and reusable mugs. Rather than buying a new cup of coffee every time, cut down on waste creation and pick up a reusable mug for your refill. We also offer reusable water bottles, as well as recycling bins in every office.

To learn more about how to go green at ROC, contact Cameron McElroy at cameron@realofficecenters.com.