Love is in the air, but in the office it can quickly translate into awkwardness. Valentine’s Day is one of those rare occasions where your personal life can intersect with your professional life, which can cause discomfort if you aren’t careful. Think back to your grade school days when Valentines were passed out, candy grams were delivered and classmates were inspired to share their true feelings. Inevitably just about every emotion but love would bubble to the surface.
If cupid plans to make an appearance at the office, there are a few dos and don’ts that can help you keep things festive, yet professional.
Do bring Valentine’s Day goodies for the whole office. By bringing enough for everyone you can celebrate without singling anyone out or playing favorites. Putting out a candy dish with Valentines treats, getting donuts for breakfast or bringing in a cake for everyone to enjoy are a few ways to celebrate the sweetness of the day.
Do decorate your desk. If you enjoy decorating for different holidays there’s no reason to bypass Valentine’s Day. Just focus on keeping it generic rather than personal. If you do display pictures of your significant other, shy away from using images that show physical signs of affection.
Do invite coworkers to lunch. Why should couples be the only ones to enjoy all the delicious Valentine’s Day specials? Celebrate as a group by going out to lunch at a restaurant that’s offering something special for the holiday. Just plan well in advance since Valentine’s Day is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants.
Do show your appreciation for co-workers. Instead of approaching Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to profess love, make it a day to profess appreciation. Letting co-workers know how much you respect their work ethic, talent and what they bring to the table is always a welcomed gesture.
Don’t bring your personal relationship to the office. If you are in a romantic relationship with a co-worker it is highly advisable that you reserve your gift giving and displays of affection for after the end of day. Even if you don’t work with your significant other but plan to exchange workplace gifts, keep it as low-key as possible. That way your big bouquet or huge teddy bear won’t remind your officemates that cupid’s arrow didn’t strike them this year.
Don’t flirt. Given the sentiment of the holiday, people might be feeling overly amorous. This can sometimes lead to behavior that people normally wouldn’t display, like being flirtatious. However, the holiday doesn’t negate what’s considered appropriate for the office environment.
Don’t feel bad for ignoring Valentine’s Day in the office. There are times when it’s simply easiest to skip the holiday all together in the office. And that’s okay too.