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Should you “Do” Valentine’s Day at Work?

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This year, Valentine’s Day falls over a weekend. In addition to every decent restaurant in town being full or overbooked, those of us who are not enamoured of this festival of love don’t have to inflict our curmudgeonly selves to loved-up workmates. But should it ever be a part of office life at all.

Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday, and people are therefore expected to turn up to work and conduct themselves as usual, unless they’ve specifically booked the day off as holiday. But there are myriad distractions that can take place: the phone calls to the beloved to finalise plans for the evening, the checking on the delivery of gifts and cards, trying to find a vase in the office to make sure the bouquet of roses don’t wilt before the end of the day, and endless conversations about everyone’s plans for the big day. Truly, it could only be worse if two people in the office were getting married to each other.

It may seem draconian, but management should have some policies in place to make sure the office is not overrun by a riot of petals, chocolate and cuddly toys. If not, you may as well advertise that for one day only, your core business is going to be as a dating consultancy. It’s also important to remember that not everyone is going to be feeling the love. I remember one particular Valentine’s where the rest of the office was very much in the mood apart from the accounts guy. His girlfriend of seven years had told him that she was pregnant with another man’s baby the night before. He spent most of the morning crying in his office before being sent home.

That isn’t to say that no Valentine’s celebrations are allowed in the office, however. The trick is to keep them fairly low-key. Chocolates don’t necessarily have to be shared, but in that case, spring for some Valentine’s-themed cookies so that everyone in the office can have some. Make sure there are at least a couple of buckets so that all the bouquets have somewhere to be stored until the end of the day. Other deliveries can be placed at employees desks, but not played with during work hours. And all thank-you phone calls can be made at lunch hour or at the end of the day. Your employees are probably going to be seeing the object of their affection later in the evening anyway.

Thanks to one fool who shall remain nameless, I now associate receiving flowers with the man in my life having done something wrong. Still, I do appreciate little reminders that I am appreciated. The point is, they don’t interfere with my work, or require my undivided attention when I am actually earning my keep, and that is as it should be. So I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s day. Next year, however, remember that it’s still a work day.

[Image by Nikilok]


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