On February 14th, it is Valentine's Day. Originating from a christian feast day dating back centuries, this annual celebration is acknowledged in many parts of the world. Here in the UK, it is a fun and light hearted yet highly romantic celebration when cards, flowers and gifts are given - sometimes anonymously - with the theme of love and romance. According to one survey from last year, over a billion pounds could be spent just for this one day with over twenty five million cards sent.
Given that so many people do celebrate or acknowledge Valentine's Day one way or another, it is inevitable that it will spill into the workplace but one has to be careful here as this is a place of work and professionalism should be maintained at all times.
It is exciting for colleagues to share with one another what their plans may be once work has finished and if they have received or sent any gifts or cards and it can make for some interesting conversation during break time and lunchtime.
However, not everyone will appreciate constant reminders of romance. It may be that they just don’t like it or feel it is unnecessary for whatever reason - perhaps they have gone through a traumatic divorce, are reluctantly single or have been bereaved so it's always important to be very mindful of all your colleagues feelings but at the same time not to exclude them from conversations.
It can be a very tricky situation if you fancy a colleague as ‘office romances’ have numerous difficulties attached to them and also the same rules apply if you are tempted to send an ‘anonymous’ card to a colleague as it can cause embarassment and even anger as well as promoting unwanted gossip which is seldom pleasant. Perhaps the other person is married, in a relationship or is happily single. Flirting - even if ‘innocent’ is also a definite no as it can be construed by others in a number of ways and again, can cause all manner of unwanted scenarios. Remember - you are part of a professional body of people where you should constantly maintain respectability and the utmost professional standards without fail.
There are many cheerful and innocent ways to celebrate the day with colleagues. Taking in a box of chocolates to share amongst everyone, bringing a bunch of flowers or a plant for all to admire or buying your colleagues a special coffee shows your appreciation of them without overstepping any boundaries. Showing goodwill is a great way to promote kindness especially to those who need it the most.
The day is a day of love and this comes in many forms. Some choose not to give the day a second thought whilst others may celebrate in their own way with a significant other such as a partner, children or a pet. With so much focus on self love, it could be the ideal time to do something that you like to do once work has finished for the day and that brings joy and gratitude which is incredibly important for a healthy and balanced working life.
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