Planning a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration may seem like a tricky proposition at first glance — drawing attention to romance, among coworkers? That’s an HR headache waiting to happen!
But there’s another way to frame a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration: as a celebration of workplace friendships and the strong bonds that develop between people who work closely together.
“We all need friends at work,” writes University of Kentucky provost and management professor Christine M. Riordan, for Harvard Business Review.
At a time when employee engagement is at an all-time low, it’s important to recognize the power of friendship in the workplace, according to Riordan.
Why Workplace Friendships Deserve Celebration
“Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. … Gallup found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work,” Riordan writes.
But workplace friendships are about more than camaraderie and fun.
“It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together,” she writes.
Friendships are particularly vital to the happiness, motivation and productivity of Millennial employees, according to a LinkedIn study.
Another demographic is seeing an increased reliance on friendships: men. According to a recent survey, men are forming more meaningful relationships with other men. And that could have a “transformational” effect in the workplace, according to the Fast Company article, “How Men’s Changing Friendships Might Reshape the Workplace.”
“We already know how workplace friendships can be vital, energizing and meaningful. In addition to their upsides for individual well-being, they also impact team performance, adding another level to the instrumental ways we rely on each other and collaborate,” researcher Michael Kimmel writes for Fast Company.
“We men are also learning that workplace friendships, with both women and men, can be a reason we show up for work every day. We let down our guard, share what’s important, and listen with care. And our lives — in the office and outside it — are so much richer for that.”
Read on for tips on how to plan a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration that reflects the transformational power of friendship between coworkers.
What to Do for Valentine’s Day in the Workplace
Your Valentine’s Day workplace celebration is a way to foster a culture of camaraderie, friendship and respect.
Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, tells Harvard Business Review that this kind of culture starts with leaders who model it: “Spending time with employees, treating people with respect, having fun, being there for them personally and professionally, and putting people first — with empathy, kindness and compassion.”
Exemplify these goals with a Valentine’s Day workplace celebration that emphasizes kindness and that “we’re in it together” bond. Here are a few ideas for how to celebrate:
1. Share workplace love
Why do you love your company and workplace? Encourage your team to share their “workplace love” — could be with notes pinned to a “Love Board,” or just as a fun discussion-starter at the top of a meeting.
2. Ask CEO to write a Valentine’s Day “Thank You” card
Have your company’s CEO or someone else in leadership write a Valentine’s Day note of gratitude to employees. This is a great time to update employees on the positive advances your company has made in 2017 so far and thank them for their great teamwork and dedication.
3. Bring in flowers, chocolates or candy for everybody
February weather is dreary and dismal in most parts of the country, so brighten the office with some fresh flowers and share chocolates with everyone on staff, or hand out $5 gThankYou! Candy Gift Certificates. Everyone loves a change of scenery and a little treat!
4. Donate blood together
Organize a blood drive with your team or invite coworkers and employees to join you at one. The Red Cross has details on how and where to donate. It’s team-building and it’s good for your community — what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
5) Don’t forget it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week!
It’s a nice coincidence that Valentine’s Day falls in the middle of Random Acts of Kindness Week, in February. Kindness is often the seed that grows friendships, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate workplace friendships — and sow the seeds for a few new friendships.
Download Your FREE Employee Recognition Calendar
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
Download the gThankYou Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar for resources and advice to help your organization thrive this year. Our calendar guide gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free!
Here’s to a happier workplace!
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