How to Survive Valentine’s Day at the Office
February 14th is no ordinary day in an office. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you will inevitably still find yourself surrounded by reminders of the romantic holiday. You can probably expect at least one bouquet delivery to the office by lunchtime, followed by a variety of afternoon distractions as your coworkers make plans for the evening. If you’re trying to focus and get some work accomplished, all the talk of romance may present a big challenge. Here are a few tips to help you make it through the day, whether you are a proponent for commercial holidays or not.
Managing Envy and Loneliness
Valentine’s Day is geared toward couples. If you’re flying solo this year, the entire holiday may seem like a hassle you would ideally avoid altogether. If you’ve lost a spouse or endured a recent breakup, you may susceptible to feelings of anxiety, envy and/or loneliness. It’s only natural to feel those emotions, especially as flower and gift deliveries start rolling into the office. To manage any fear of missing out, you might consider joining the 15 percent of women who send bouquets to themselves on Valentine’s Day or adopting a grade school approach to provide small notes for everyone. Try to embrace Valentine’s Day as a fun celebration and participate however you can and you may find you are able to manage some of your anxiety around it.
Keeping Things Professional
Whether you choose to participate in the activities and acknowledgment or not, distractions are usually an unavoidable part of any holiday. Valentine’s Day can be particularly challenging in this right, given the somewhat intimate nature of the day. People may attract unwanted attention, coworkers may become distracted, office romances may perpetuate gossip, etc. The best course of action if you find yourself or others distracted would be to find a way to shift the focus back to business as quickly as possible. For example, enlisting help with a project or assertively redirecting the conversation can help your coworkers get back on track. While there is nothing wrong with embracing the holiday, it is important to keep professionalism a priority and stay task-oriented.
Celebrating at Work
One way to control and minimize Valentine’s Day celebrations in the office is to designate a specific time and location for one event or gathering. Consider a lunchtime or afternoon party in the conference room or a team-building exercise that gives both the opportunity to celebrate and that optimizes work hours. Not only will this help everyone focus in the hours before and after the party, but it also ensures that everyone gets a chance to enjoy the day. If your coworkers want to make the office look festive, think about limiting decorations to one space. Paper hearts and streamers throughout the office may only add to the distractions of the holiday, serving as constant reminders that this is no ordinary workday.
Since Valentine’s Day is not a work-free holiday, it’s important to find ways to keep things as professional as possible, especially if you have deadlines to meet. A little-advanced planning can help you make Valentine’s Day both fun and productive for yourself and your colleagues. Consider talking to management or HR in advance about specific Valentine’s Day protocol or plans.