Hearts are up in store windows and the flower advertisements are flying. While new lovers may be aflutter with anticipation of what the holiday will bring, many HR managers are slightly less enthusiastic about the day of love. We’re here with some advice about how to keep the day sweet and avoid common HR headaches that accompany Valentine’s Day.

Some people love Valentine’s Day and the chocolate, stuffed bears, hearts, and flowers that go along with it, whether they have someone to celebrate the holiday with or not. Others hate it because they think it’s too commercial or it’s an annual reminder of a relationship status they want to change. For some, celebrating the holiday at work is welcome, while for others it’s distracting and annoying.

Celebrating a holiday can be a great motivator. It’s an opportunity to show the company’s appreciation for all they do. However, because of the divisive feelings about this particular holiday, there should be guidelines in place both for the workplace celebration and for how employees behave on the day. Work Valentine’s Day ideas should be as inclusive as possible so that no one spends the day feeling depressed. Keep these Valentine’s office ideas in mind for an enjoyable workplace celebration.

Acknowledge the Day

Some of your employees are bound to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether with each other or with spouses and outside acquaintances. Ignoring the day altogether certainly won’t improve your company culture or garner you any points for fun. Worse, ignoring the holiday leaves the door open for employees to take matters into their own hands when it comes to celebrating the holiday at work.

Make It About the Employees

It may be a Valentine’s Day celebration, but its focus should be on employee appreciation. Many people feel excluded on Valentine’s Day if they don’t have a significant other. By focusing on celebrating your employees’ hard work and showing your appreciation for everything they do, everyone can participate and feel valued.

Share the Love

Small acts of kindness can show employees that you care on Valentine’s Day. Bringing in coffees for everyone or offering a few words of praise for each employee can go a long way in making people feel appreciated. Nice gestures can be contagious and may make the day a little brighter for everyone. Fun Valentine’s Day office activities can include breaks for coffee and food as well as small gifts for everyone.

Provide Sweet Treats

Valentine’s Day is all about sweet treats. Donuts and chocolate can go a long way towards making your staff members feel appreciated. Just make sure that they’re not the sweet treats that have romantic phrases written on them. Fun office Valentine’s Day ideas can include providing a variety of sweet treats for your employees to enjoy throughout the day.

Send Appreciation Emails

Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity for managers to share with their employees how much they’re appreciated. A kind email thanking employees for all of their hard work can go a long way towards making the day enjoyable. Plus, appreciation shown to everyone equally won’t leave anyone feeling left out.

Keep It Professional

You may need to remind your employees ahead of time that even though it’s Valentine’s Day, professional attire and behavior is still expected. Even if your company has no rules against fraternization, it’s still important for employees that may be dating each other to keep the romance out of the workplace. If employees have gifts for each other but not for everyone, then outside of work may be a better time to give those out.  Anyone who does receive a gift or flowers on the day should be discreet about it instead of showing it off.

For employees who hate the holiday, it’s best that they keep any grumblings to themselves. At work during business hours is neither the time nor the place to bash the holiday in front of others who may enjoy it. The goal is to be inclusive of everyone regardless of how they may feel about the holiday itself.

Wear Professional Clothing

Some Valentine’s Day accessories are appropriate and can make the day more fun. Wearing red or pink is also a good way to honor the holiday. Any holiday-themed attire should still meet any company dress code requirements, however.

Review Fraternization Policies

Workplace romances happen, so it’s important that everyone be in the know about the rules that are in place. Reviewing the fraternization policies to make sure that they’re up to date and in line with what’s actually going on in the workplace a little ahead of Valentine’s Day is a good idea. Sending a copy of the policy to department managers or posting it in a prominent place for all to see may help prevent issues.

Encourage Inclusive Celebrations

Bringing sweets to work or planning a big office lunch for Valentine’s Day can make everyone feel appreciated and can make the holiday a bit more joyful. Encourage employees to wear themed clothes and have fun with the day, but underline inclusiveness. Preferential treatment of some employees by peers or superiors can make other employees feel excluded.

Avoid Valentine’s Themes

Even though it’s Valentine’s Day, a celebration in the workplace will be best kept neutral. A lot of Valentine’s-themed decorations and food have romantic wording, such as “sweethearts” or “I love you” written on them. These are best avoided in the workplace both to keep things more professional and to avoid excluding people.

Don’t Send Valentines

Valentines are common in school, but there’s not really a place for them in the office. They’re a bit too romantic and some may not like them. Some companies have a culture that involves gift-giving. This is fine and Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to do so. However, gifts should avoid being overly Valentine’s-themed so they apply to everyone regardless of relationship status or how they feel about the holiday. More professional gifts are also more appropriate to give out to customers.

Keep an Eye Out for Depression

Valentine’s Day can be a painful day for those that have recently divorced or separated and can make some singles feel very lonely. Unfortunately, sad feelings can lead to depression for some. Keep an eye out for workers that seem to be avoiding interaction or whose productivity fluctuates around this time and be sure to let everyone know that there’s an open-door policy for anyone that wants to talk.

Making emotional counseling available is a good way to assist employees with any feelings of depression or loneliness that may set in at this time of year (or any time of year). There are many options for counseling, including text counseling and video conferencing, that could be included as part of a wellness plan. Some employees may be more comfortable handling personal matters in this way.