Celebrating Birthday’s at the Office: Do’s and Don’ts
It may be all work and no play at the office during business hours, but there are times when it’s appropriate to have little celebrations. Your office probably always has a holiday celebration in December and you might also decorate your office or cubicle for the other holidays; but there’s also another event that should be celebrated at work: birthdays!
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There are definitely some MAJOR Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to marking your co-workers or boss’ birthdays while on the job. Here we go…
DO: Acknowledge their special day
Obviously, if you’re in a company with hundreds or even dozens of employees, you can’t remember everyone’s birthdays. But you should at least know the birthdays of your immediate office or teammates, as well as your boss’. Make sure you tell them Happy Birthday when you first see them, and if their birthday is on a weekend or when they have the day off, you could consider sending an e-Card. If you’re close with your co-worker or boss, think about getting them a little gift as well. Even a birthday cupcake can make their day! You spend a lot of time with your work family and it’s important to make sure you show them some love on their b-day.
DON’T: Make a huge deal out of it
It might be a time to celebrate the birth of your co-worker or boss BUT you’re still at WORK. Don’t spend the whole day bombarding them with Happy Birthday or badgering them about how old they are or what they’re doing. You’re both still there to work, after all. Ask them what their plans are or embarrass them with your singing AFTER you’ve clocked out. A singing telegram is not unique and thoughtful, its not appropriate AND its embarrassing!
DO: Get the office involved
Usually, larger companies celebrate employee birthdays all at once time so they’re not having to call you all to the break room for cake every week. I think this is a great idea if you work with tons of people. It’s sort of a special feeling to have people you don’t work with directly wish you a happy birthday, right? And if you work in a smaller office, get the whole office to go out to lunch or drinks after work. It will bring the office closer together by participating in a fun celebration together. One of my favorite birthdays was my 19th birthday when the entire office went out with me to celebrate with balloons, presents and everything. We were one big happy family!
DON’T: Booze it up
This is a good rule for any day (unless you live in some magical Mad Men land), but especially birthdays. Many companies will provide alcohol at the company Christmas party, but that’s because it’s after hours and typically at an off-site location. When it comes to birthdays, keep the alcohol until after you’re done for the day. Even having a cocktail or two on your lunch is a no-no, unless you don’t plan on coming back to work after lunch. Arrange for you and your co-workers to hit a Happy Hour after work, so you can keep anything embarrassing off company property.
At the end of the day, one of the biggest perks about celebrating birthdays at the office is that it creates a fun company culture. You could work in a “serious business” like a law firm, but if the higher-ups take care and celebrate with the office, it only makes things more fun.