In all types of offices, all across Canada, no other celebration brings as much questioning as Valentine's Day, and even more so this year, with the rise of the #MeToo movement.
To avoid embarrassment and blunders, here are dos and don'ts for Valentine's Day at work.
You are not in elementary school. Valentine's Day at the office is different from Valentine's Day at school. Even if you are sure you will not forget anyone, do not distribute valentines at work. Remember, Valentine's Day is a day to express love. By offering these sweet notes you could be perceived as juvenile, cute or seeking popularity, instead of sending the image of a confident, competent and credible professional.
If you want to celebrate how lucky you are to be surrounded by such great colleagues, bring a treat that all can enjoy. Do not discriminate or single out anyone. Place them on your desk or in the rest area. Stick to classic donuts, cookies or chocolates. Avoid containers under the theme of the day. Do not bring "Sweethearts" candies either. Their messages will embarrass and create negative reactions.
Even though your colleague may be your soul mate, do not use the day to declare your love at work.
If you are disillusioned and no longer believe in love, do not spend the day mopping around and "trashing" Valentine's Day by saying that it is too commercial or a plot to sell jewelry and chocolate. It is only one day: stay cool and carry on.
Recognizing subordinates, team and clients could be good for business
If you are the boss of a small team and your culture is "gifty," traditional coffee cups or water bottles in the colors of the day, with a mention like "super employee," would be appropriate.
As a business, you may decide to annually recognize your customers on Valentine's Day. Send a group gift, a card, treats or lunch for their entire team every February 14. You could also organize a social media campaign with #WeLoveOurClients and #WeLoveOurEmployees hashtags. This is a positive way to shine in your business community externally, as well as internally.
Sending and receiving gifts at work is not just about you
If you receive flowers or a gift at work, be discreet and sensitive to others' love or absence of love lives. Do not dance around with what you have received. Place it on your desk and make any "thank you" calls in private.
Do not send a virtual valentine from the office. You are paid to work, not to seduce.
Before calling the guitarist to play "your song" at your partner's office, make sure that it will be appreciated and that it is in line with their workplace culture.
Dressing for the occasion is dressing for work
If you are going to celebrate after work, do not wear your romantic outfit during the day. Change after work. In moderation, wearing red or pink clothing or accessories is acceptable.
To decorate or not to decorate? Think about it
It depends on your job, the company you work for, its mission and the organization's culture. You are in doubt? Find out or don't do it.
Valentine's Day is celebrated between lovers, so usually after hours of work, unless you work with your partner.
Cupid is not your CEO and he does not appear in your company's organizational chart.
Don't be the star of the day. Let your colleagues watch or pay for their dose of melodrama.