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Dos and Don'ts of Celebrating Valentine's Day in the office


Years ago, my hubby sent me flowers at work on Valentine's Day. It was awkward because I shared desk space with a friend of mine who was single and desperately trying to meet someone. My bouquet of roses seemed to taunt her and she let me know it made her feel awful.

Valentine's Day can be so awkward in the workplace!

Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community where people share information and opinions about their workplaces, recently conducted a survey in which it asked over 1,000 employees and job seekers about their thoughts on love in the workplace and Valentine’s Day. It found that 69% say they have received a Valentine’s Day themed gift from a co-worker, but a majority (58%) do not look forward to the holiday.

These days, there so much potential in the office for Valentine's Day awkwardness: “For a lot of us, we’re spending more time with our office-mates than our significant others, and that inevitably can lead to an awkward kind of ‘Do I get something for him or her?’ moment,” workplace expert Nicole Williams told Forbes.com's Jacquelyn Smith. "It may depend on your company’s culture and your relationship with that specific colleague, but in most cases the answer is no."

A few years ago, I interviewed a floral distributor about Valentine's Day sales. The CEO told me he dreaded the years when Valentine's Day fell on the weekend because the appeal of sending a lover flowers on Valentine's Day is giving the recipient a chance to have colleagues gloat. I can see that appeal.

However, that gloating seems less important and more uncomfortable if you're in a romantic relationship with a co-worker. In that situation, Williams advises: "Don’t bring your love life into the workplace."

More "don'ts" on Valentine’s Day: Don’t flirt with your colleagues (something as simple as a greeting card can even start trouble and avoid getting physical in the office. Don't make assumptions about who sent a co-worker flowers -- that can get extremely awkward. ( learned this one the hard way!) Also, don't question where anyone is going on Valentine's Day when they try to slip out quietly at lunchtime. Lastly, don't give your boss advice about what to buy his romantic interest for Valentine's Day (If the gift doesn't go over well, you dont' want to be responsible --learned this one the hard way, too!)

Now, some "dos" Valentine's Day: Glassdoor spokesperson Samantha Zupan said bringing cookies, cupcakes or another treat for all your co-workers can be a fun way to celebrate, just be careful not to get too personal or excessive.

My husband says his company gives all its female workers a rose. I thought that was kind of strange. I told him I'm sure they'd rather have something useful like a free movie ticket rather than something meant to be romantic and I wondered what the men think about the rose gesture.

Anyway, I'm wondering if you have any dos or don'ts to share about celebrating Valentine's Day at work? Have you ever done an awkward "don't" and continue to regret it years later?