Looking for workplace Valentine’s Day ideas? We have six inclusive Valentine’s Day activities for workplaces listed below, including ideas for involving remote team members.
Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s favorite holiday, and as a workplace, it’s important to recognize when occasions can make employees feel uncomfortable. But the month of love doesn’t only need to be about romantic love. There are plenty of ways businesses can show appreciation to employees, give back to the community, and promote self-love.
Let’s dig into workplace-appropriate Valentine’s Day ideas as well as a little history about this very old occasion. Any guesses how old Valentine’s Day is?
Where Does Valentine’s Day Come From?
The history of Valentine’s Day is a mysterious one, and the month of February has long been associated with romance. For one thing, it was believed in France and England that February 14th was the start of the birds' mating season. Valentine’s Day as we know it today is based on both Christian and ancient Roman traditions.
The first Christian celebration occurred around A.D. 270 in the middle of February and commemorated Saint Valentine’s death or burial. There are conflicting accounts of who St. Valentine was. He was either someone who performed marriages in secret in the third century in Rome after Emperor Claudius decreed soldiers could not be married, or someone who sent a love letter to someone while in prison and signed it, “From your Valentine.” Either way, history has remembered the saint as an unfailing romantic.
However, it’s been argued that the Christian church placed their St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February to try and “Christianize” the much older pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival honoring the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus, as well as the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
Valentine greetings date as far back as the Middle Ages, but handwritten Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until the 1400s. Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated in Great Britain around the 17th century, and by the middle of the 18th century, friends and lovers, regardless of their social status, began to exchange handwritten notes and small tokens of affection. People started exchanging printed cards around 1900.
❤️ Did we whet your appetite for history? Check out this detailed account of the history of Valentine’s Day.
Celebrating Valentine’s Day for Workplaces
Valentine’s Day has been around for a LONG time, which means the single people of the world have been tortured by this holiday for hundreds of years.
When celebrating Valentine’s Day at your workplace, try to keep in mind that not everyone has someone to celebrate with, and Valentine’s Day can be a painful reminder of that. This means that workplaces must be as inclusive and empathetic as possible to people’s mixed feelings about the holiday.
But that doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun! Use the day as an opportunity to give back, spark joy, and show appreciation to your team. Any occasion is the perfect excuse for some much-needed team building.
Workplace Valentine’s Day Ideas
Employee Valentine’s ideas shouldn't be limited to flowers, chocolate, and tacky cards. There are plenty of ways your workplace can celebrate the occasion, such as spreading love and good cheer throughout your community. Plus, a little self-love goes a long way too. Continue reading for our six Valentine’s ideas for workplaces.
1. Buy a Treat or Cater Lunch
Show your team how much you appreciate them with a special office treat or catered lunch. When choosing which food to order, look for a local small business you can support within your own community.
These businesses can use all the help they can get! Plus, it’s a great opportunity to network with other businesses within your community. How can you collaborate in the future and work to support each other?
Involve your team in deciding what type of food they would like to have catered, and don’t forget to ask about dietary restrictions. A bunch of cakes and sweets may sound like a good idea, but not to someone who has diabetes, is lactose intolerant, or is gluten-free.
🤤We compiled a list of the 9 Best Lunch Spots in Huntsville, Alabama.
2. Share a Local Valentine’s Gift for Employees
Support local businesses when making your Valentine's Day purchases. Whether you’re buying your team a small gift or purchasing some sweet office treats, choose to support local small businesses within your community before turning to a big box store. Put in the time to do your research and get to know your community.
Remember that Valentine’s gifts for office staff need to be tasteful and thoughtful. Be careful not to make anyone uncomfortable by throwing a contentious holiday in their face. Instead of the usual flowers, red candy, and heart-shaped objects, opt for products that focus on your employees’ needs and self-care.
Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Employees:
- Fancy coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
- A gift certificate to a local restaurant or cafe
- A delicious premade dinner or dinner kit (from a local restaurant)
- A journal or notebook
- Flower seeds that can be planted in the spring
- A home herb growing kit
- Warm socks (try alpaca!)
- A standing desk mat
- Personalized office mugs
- Reed diffusers
Valentine’s Day gifts for employees can be sent virtually too! Treat your virtual team to a surprise by mail or delivery service.
3. Half Day Off for Self-Love and Self-Care
Allow Valentine’s Day to be about some much-needed self-love and self-care. Want to be the absolute best place to work? Offer your employees a half day off on Valentine’s Day (or any day in February) to practice self-care. If you really want to go all in, offer an allotted dollar amount to go toward a self-care or self-love activity.
Valentine’s Day love is often centered around a special someone, but we all deserve some extra love and attention from time to time. Self-care is incredibly important to living a happy, healthy, and balanced life. Neglecting self-care can lead to issues with work-life balance, mental health concerns, physical health concerns, and burnout. Encourage your employees to practice self-care, and do what you can to support them.
Put a focus on self-care this Valentine’s Day season, and help your team members take the time to intentionally love themselves.
4. Support a Cause or Charity
Spread the love to an important cause or charity of your choosing. Get the team involved by asking them what type of charity they’d like to support. You can raise funds as a team to give back to those in need. For an extra push, have the business match all employee donations.
Not sure where to start? You could donate to your local food bank, a sustainability effort, an illness that has affected you or someone you love, an animal shelter, or a children’s program.
5. Show the Earth Some Extra Love
Give some of that extra Valentine’s Day love back to the Earth by turning Valentine’s Day into another opportunity to focus on sustainability.
If you live in a warm enough climate, arranging tree planting or a garden activity with the team will promote team building while providing some much-needed fresh air. If February is a chilly month, invest in some office plants that the whole team can participate in planting. Have a remote team? Send everyone seeds and the materials they need to grow a small home office plant or kitchen herbs.
While focusing your V-Day love on the Earth, take the time to remind everyone of your recycling practices, and educate the team on the best ways they can be more sustainable around the workplace.
🌎 Want to learn more? Here are 9 Office Sustainability Ideas For a Greener Workplace.
6. Virtual Valentine’s Ideas for Workplaces
We already covered a few ideas for virtual teams throughout this article, but let’s take some time to focus specifically on Valentine’s ideas for employees who work remotely. Remember that your remote team still needs and craves team building opportunities, and they should get the time they need to socialize and build rapport with one another.
Mark the occasion with virtual team building activities to engage the whole team. Include icebreakers and games at the beginning of team meetings, and set aside some time in February specifically for team building.
There are plenty of virtual activities available online, including virtual escape rooms, virtual wine tastings, mindful experiences, and other curated events.
Consider a theme day to mark February 14th, such as asking the team to wear red, allowing pets to join online meetings for the day, or encouraging fun virtual backgrounds during interoffice calls.
More Ways to Celebrate
❤️ More Valentine’s ideas for office staff: How to Celebrate Valentine's Day with Office Supplies.
💚Whether you’re honoring an upcoming Earth Day or simply looking for ideas to celebrate our planet, read our Office Earth Day Ideas for Work.
💜 Make the most of your time at work by keeping morale high and colleagues motivated. Learn more about Celebrating Birthdays at Work.
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