Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day has come around again. The shops are filled with sweets and chocolate in a rainbow of reds and you’ve probably noticed that your local M&S is bursting at the seams with flowers. While February 14th’s long and disputed history started with unsavory activities and founded itself as the holiday of romance in the times of Chaucer and Shakespeare, we think it’s time for another reinterpretation, the HR way.
In the UK, people work 1,625 hours per year, so it’s no surprise workplaces have become their own communities. What can you do this Valentine’s Day to show how much you appreciate your colleagues? We have a few ideas.
1. Make the first round of tea
If you work in a small organisation, offer to make everyone their first cup of coffee or tea in the morning, and when you serve everyone their brew, give out a few sweet tart hearts as a treat.
2. Give out personalised Valentine’s cards
Tell your coworkers why you enjoy working with them and how much you appreciate their efforts in the office. If you can, recall a personal story on how they’ve helped you in the past.
3. Treat your colleagues to lunch
Lucky for us, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year. Nothing says: ‘Thanks for all your support’ better than a Friday special from your local chippy. What’s more pleasant than a lingering scent of fried fish in the afternoon? Not much.
If your office is on a health kick, we salute you. Trade out the fried food for a tea break of fresh fruit and dark chocolate (a square or two won’t hurt).
4. Purposely endorse their skills on LinkedIn
Instead of automatically clicking that “Endorse” button without really paying attention, purposely visit your coworkers’ profiles and show how much you appreciate their unique set of skills by endorsing the ones that help your team on a daily basis. Then, email them to let them know how having them on the team has impacted the organisation positively.
5. Smile more
Sometimes all it takes to turn someone’s day around is a little kindness. Don’t discriminate and be kind to everyone you encounter today.
6. Speak to people you normally wouldn’t
In large organisations, it’s easy to walk right past people you don’t work with directly. Make a point to say hello to a few new people and ask how their days are going. Bonus points if you carry around some candy to hand out while making these new connections.
7. Offer to become a mentor
Many companies have mentoring schemes where experienced employees help new or less-experienced coworkers learn the ropes. Your guidance will be invaluable to someone new who is trying to build their career and make a name for themselves in your organisation. Plus, mentoring is often a two-way street and you will likely learn new skills yourself.
8. Start a staff-nominated employee of the week/month programme
Changeboard shares an office space with plotr, a career website for 11-to-24-year olds that our CEO Jim runs. Both Changeboard and plotr have a Will on the team, so our senior account manager Ashley, and plotr’s account manager Lauren created ‘Will of the Week’, which was originally a competition between the Wills, but soon turned into a staff-nominated employee appreciation award. Each week, the last Will of the Week nominates someone new (with input from everyone) who has gone above and beyond the call of duty that week. You can win for many reasons; I got to wear the crown (yes, there’s a crown) for bringing in a popular Canadian treat from Tim Horton’s called Timbits, while Mary, our deputy editor, won the ‘Will of the Winter’ crown for managing two magazines at once.
This has been hugely successful at our office because it allows us to learn what our colleagues are doing well each week, and we can show them that we all notice and appreciate how hard they’re working. Our kitchen table is always full of goodies (some healthy) in the race for the crown.
Do you have any plans to show appreciation to your coworkers today? Do you think Valentine’s Day should be ignored or celebrated at the office? Please leave your comments below – I’d love to hear from you.