Valentine’s Day may be the day for love, but as we all know there are many different types of love, some of which such as friendly love, are suitable for the office, and more erotic, romantic love, is not, It is a great time to show appreciation for employees, which may result in more engaged and productive workers. There are also some caveats of which to be aware to avoid having employees feel uncomfortable with unwanted attention or isolated as others bask in and flaunt their love on Valentine’s Day.

Think back to elementary school and Valentine’s Day. The kids all made mailboxes to hold Valentine cards and everyone in the class distributed cards to everyone in the class. These cards had sayings on them like You’re Dino-mite in the shape of a dinosaur. Now that we’re adults and spend most of our time at the office, the rules have changed, especially in the age of #MeToo. Please avoid the cutesy cards, even if sending to everyone, which is also a no-no, in order to avoid appearing unprofessional and everyone’s sense of humor is not the same. Don’t give any type of cards to your coworkers. If you are friendly with people, an after work exchange of cards can be appropriate. It remains important not to make anything that would appear to be a sexual overture. Any office-related celebrations should occur in groups to avoid anyone misunderstanding the intention behind the gesture.

Every organization needs to have a fraternization policy. Workplace romances do happen and rules are needed as to what is acceptable behavior and what is not. For example, romantic relationships between a manager and a reporting staff member are not allowed; coworkers may date as long as behavior does not impact the jobs of those involved or other coworkers.

Gentle warning for those lovebirds, usually women, who want their significant other to send gifts to the workplace: we’ve all seen the situation where the receptionist calls someone to the front to pick up a bouquet of flowers or balloons and the recipient walks slowly back to their desk with a triumphant smile. This scenario while making the person happy can be upsetting to employees who have lost a loved one or is not in a relationship and can be also be a disruption to everyone’s productivity.

Now that we’ve taken care of the warnings, there are fun, beneficial ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the office. It is a great opportunity to show your employees that you appreciate them and to boost morale with an office lunch, breakfast or a tray of cookies and fruit. A little praise goes a long way. Recognition can be as big a motivator as money in reinforcing employee commitment to their jobs. People want to feel challenged, involved, empowered and respected. February is also heart health month and a talk from the American Heart Association or Red Cross on a topic such as healthy eating or CPR may be appropriate.

Happy Valentine’s Day. We appreciate your dedication to our blog.