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Valentine's Day can be très complicated in a small firm.
Do you give your staff tokens of your appreciation? Do you recognize the holiday at all?
What's the Big Deal?
As an adult, I can't stand Valentine's Day because it's filled with insincere displays of affection. But back in elementary school? Those were the V-Day glory days. Valentine's Day was way more fun when everyone received a saccharine sweet sentiment in a bedazzled shoebox. Give me a tiny Transformers card with a bad pun over a floral arrangement any day.
Which leads to the predicament of the day: How should a small firm handle Valentine's Day?
Many small firms celebrate holidays -- Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc. -- with feel-good events. (A small firm may not offer the prestige of a Vault 100, but it makes up for it with a sense of community.) The problem with Valentine's Day, however, is setting a professional tone in approaching a holiday that is anything but professional.
How Should Your Firm Celebrate Valentine's Day?
If you decide to acknowledge V-Day in your office, Forbes recommends employing the same approach with all of your colleagues. If you want to give one of your co-workers a Justin Bieber card, you should give all of your co-workers Justin Bieber cards. (Just like elementary school.)
Better yet, save a tree and skip the paper trail. Free food is the way to anyone's heart. If your name is on the letterhead, consider ordering in lunch for your hard-working staff. To show you really care, pay extra attention to specific dietary needs. (The office vegan will feel alienated if you order ribs for everyone, and the gluten-intolerant employees will be left out if you order pizza.)
If you occupy a slightly lower position on the office food chain, consider a sweet treat like cupcakes, cookies, or chocolates. (Or kale. Everyone can eat kale, right?)
Editor's Note, February 9, 2015: This post was first published in February 2013. It has since been updated.