Surviving Valentine’s Day at the office

Many people who are single find Valentine’s Day to be pretty miserable. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, though, at the office Valentine’s Day can be simply awkward. After all, there’s a good chance that you spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your significant other. So should you get your co-workers something? A box of chocolates? A card? Probably not. It’s just too likely to cause problems. If you’re really insistent on being celebratory, maybe you could put out a bowl of candy – but everyone loves the person who leaves out candy at work, so you might want to start doing that year-round. Individual Valentine’s Day gifts, though, can be more awkward than rewarding.

Another way that Valentine’s Day can be awkward at work is if you’re dating someone at work. Obviously, I’m talking about known relationships – if you’re dating someone else and hiding the relationship from other co-workers, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. If you’re dating your co-worker, though, definitely don’t bring Valentine’s Day to work. It’s just rude to flaunt your perfect love-work mix in front of your colleagues, most of whom probably either wish that they could spend as much time with their significant other as you do or else that they had a significant other at all.

Something else you should watch out for on Valentine’s Day is flirting. When love is in the air like it is every February 14th, it can be easy to go along with the swing of things and be extra flirtatious. Don’t. Even non-flirting holiday behavior can be taken very much the wrong way when it comes to holidays like this. You probably should avoid even giving out Valentine’s Day cards because it’s simply too easy to offend someone or have your intentions misinterpreted. If you’re a boss, for similar reasons you should probably avoid office-wide card exchanges or office Valentine’s Day party – unless you are the boss of a dating service or something of that nature. In that case the rules of safe Valentine’s Day office etiquette are probably slightly different.

If, as a boss, you are really insistent on celebrating Valentine’s Day at work, there are ways to do it that can actually be good for the workplace environment. For instance, you can have some group activities, like having everyone say what they love most about their job. General office parties, though, are probably not a great idea with this particular holiday.

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Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.