14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Workplace

Written by
Deborah Galea
Deborah Galea

Valentine’s Day is usually associated with chocolate and flowers, but it’s also a great time to show appreciation in the workplace! Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the strong (non-romantic) bonds between coworkers. Remember giving your schoolmates cards and candy to celebrate? You’re all grown up now, but it’s still a great day to appreciate your team.

Unfortunately, a shocking 87% of employees don’t feel engaged at work, so why not use Valentine’s Day to recognize your team in a fun and appropriate way? By making your team feel appreciated, you can increase engagement, and research shows that engaged employees are more productive and less likely to seek out a new job.

Find more details and tips about employee engagement in our Essential Guide to Employee Engagement

Why celebrating Valentine’s Day at work is a great opportunity

Not convinced yet? Here are five ways celebrating Valentine’s Day can positively impact your team:

  • Improve camaraderie: Celebrating together and engaging in joint activities can boost team morale, spark a feeling of togetherness, and make employees feel more engaged.
  • Promote appreciation: Employees feel rewarded and motivated when someone takes the extra effort to let them know they're appreciated.
  • Increase positivity: Simple team activities, like decorating cookies and playing bingo, can decrease stress levels, encourage creativity, and most importantly, increase positivity in the workplace.
  • Encourage a caring environment: By celebrating Valentine’s Day in an inclusive way, teams can foster a caring environment, where individuals feel psychologically safe.
  • Brighten the mood: This time of year can be particularly challenging for many people, falling shortly after Blue Monday. By organizing some fun Valentine’s Day celebrations, you can lift the mood and spread some cheer.

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14 Valentine’s Day celebration ideas for the workplace

It’s easy to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your entire team. Here are 14 inclusive ways to enjoy the holiday at work:

1. Host or order breakfast

Grab some bagels, fruit, and pastries for the office, or order your team their favorite breakfast dishes. If you choose the office route, decorate a table with a Valentine’s Day tablecloth, flowers, and scattered paper hearts. Sprinkle in some Sweethearts candy for a little extra magic.

2. Share goody bags

Fill goody bags for every employee with candy, gift cards, and a handwritten note. Add some sustainable company swag while you're at it. Don’t forget the dietary restrictions and preferences of the team!

3. Decorate the office (or home office)

Pinterest is calling. Place pink, red, and white balloon bouquets around the office, or ship them to your employees' homes. Share heart decals for computer monitors and streamers to decorate chairs. Take it a step further by ordering edible flower arrangements!

4. Gift candy mason jars

Leave mason jars filled with candy treats on desks as a nice morning surprise, or send them to coworkers: Fill a mason jar with candy and chocolates, cover the top with a Valentine’s Day cupcake wrapper, and add a colorful ribbon. Attach a fun note, and place a sticker on the jar with each person’s name to make it personal.

5. Start late

Invite your team to start work later than normal to focus on themselves, partners, friends, or family. You’ll find your team more refreshed and appreciated.

You don't need a holiday like Employee Appreciation Day to appreciate your employees! Find our big list of Creative Employee Rewards here!

6. Host a tea party

Whether it's in-person or virtual, bring heart-shaped cookies, prepare a selection of teas, and break out the cucumber sandwiches! Decorate a table with a red tablecloth and scattered hearts. Schedule the tea party for the early afternoon, when everyone’s energy is getting low. Take into account any dietary restrictions and preferences.

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7. Make charitable donations

Create a list of five charities, like the The Red Cross, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Salvation Army and The Humane Society. Place a jar for each charity in the lunchroom along with a short description of the charity. Give each employee a red paper heart with ‘$10’ written on it. Ask everyone to put the paper heart in the jar of their preferred charity to donate $10 from company funds.

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8. Play Valentine’s bingo with prizes

Give bingo game sheets and chips to employees who want to participate, and play some office bingo! Prizes can be anything, from gift cards to local restaurants to lunch with the CEO.

9. Offer meditation or yoga instruction

Invite a meditation or yoga instructor during the lunch break to talk about how to introduce mindfulness into your life, and finish with a session for the team. Or find a virtual yoga instructor!

10. Test your estimation skills

Fill some large jars with candy or chocolates and have everyone guess how many items there are in the jar. The closest guess wins and gets to take the jar home. Of course, you’ll have to count the candy first!

11. Set up an Appreciation Bulletin Board

Set up a bulletin board, spread out markers, bring push pins, and hand out paper hearts with the following request: ‘Share some ways you’ve felt appreciated at work’. Leave the board up for the next week to encourage peer recognition. You can also create a virtual board!

Learn more about the power of employee recognition in our free Guide to Modern Employee Recognition.

12. Decorate your own cookies

Bake or buy heart-shaped sugar cookies (or alternatives based on dietary restrictions/preferences), and place them in the lunchroom for employees to decorate throughout the day. Provide sprinkles, different colors of icing tubes, and candy for decorating. Offer cellophane bags and colorful ribbons for those who want to take their cookies home or gift them. Alternatively, bake together with your team using cookie baking kits!

13. Recognize great work publicly

Consider using an employee recognition and rewards program like Bonusly to show your peers appreciation publicly and offer your team a huge catalog of rewards. Remind your team that Valentine’s Day is a great day to share their appreciation with colleagues.

See how Bonusly users recognized their colleagues in our latest Year in Bonusly report!

14. Provide 15-minute massages

Bring in a professional masseuse or masseur, and offer 15-minute massages. Massages can reduce stress, improve morale, and decrease injuries.

And don’t forget your remote workers! Send them an e-card, mail them a goody bag, and invite them to participate in Valentine’s Day activities using online conferencing.

Make this Valentine’s Day one that your team will remember and look forward to next year!

Want more ideas to reward your employees throughout the year? Take a tour of Bonusly or talk with one of our rewards experts.

Check out our full list of creative employee reward ideas here: 

Get the 65 Creative Employee Reward Ideas PDF

Originally published on January 29, 2019 → Last updated February 10, 2021

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Deborah Galea

Deborah Galea is a Product Marketing Professional with 15+ years of experience working in the enterprise software industry and is specialized in positioning and launching B2B software and SaaS products. Deborah co-founded the email security company Red Earth Software which was acquired by OPSWAT in 2014.

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