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Office Romance: Valentine’s Day Gifts in the Workplace

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. When you were young this meant store-bought cards marked with the year’s coolest animated characters. You brought one for everybody, at least at most schools, and got one from everybody–no hurt feelings. Now that you’re in the real world, however, and work in an office, Valentine’s Day brings a slew of problems to the table.

Got an office romance? Today is not the day to make it public. It’s one thing for a significant other that works elsewhere to send you chocolate covered strawberries or flowers at the office on Valentine’s Day. No one has to see the thank you. Just because it’s a national holiday for romance doesn’t give you the right make others uncomfortable in your office. It also doesn’t give you a free pass to stir up an office romance just because you’re seeing red and pink. It’s important to remain professional in office romances at all times, but you should be extra cautious around Valentine’s Day given the heightened awareness of romance. By showing caution you’re being sensitive to others and avoiding any problems with your human resources department.

No office romance but planning to give some gifts to friends? Did you bring enough for everyone? Remember that rule in elementary school. You may be in the real world but people are fundamentally the same. If you work in an office of 50 or 100 people you can’t be expected to get everyone something. So you still want to celebrate? Leave a bowl of themed candy on your desk, or bring in some heart-shaped cookies to the office kitchenette, that way everyone can indulge if they stop by (be sure to ok this with your HR pro if you work in a more conservative office). Bottom line: save personal gifts for before or after work, it’ll save you a whole lot of headache later.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses offers tips for human resources professionals dealing with office romances this Valentine’s Day. If you are in human resources and you see potential pitfalls, especially as the holiday infects even the sanest of individuals, don’t be afraid to act.

This Valentine’s Day be mindful of your co-workers and embrace the spirit of kindness. Just think about how much fun Valentine’s Day was when you were younger and everybody got to participate.

What is your take on office romances and gift-giving during Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by danielmoyle

Jen Schiller

Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.