It’s natural to come to care for your co-workers, and want to celebrate with them on their birthdays and holidays. At the same time, office gift giving has a different set of rules than those for giving gifts for friends or family. Here are some interoffice gift guidelines to help you navigate those waters safely:
Birthdays are some of the most fun to celebrate because you can tailor the gift to really fit the person. For example, if your cube-mate is really into things like home brewing or wine, you can give her some really fun bar gifts, like drink mixing kits, glasses, bottles of wine, and so on.
The best part about gifts like this is that they are personal without being too personal so you don’t have to worry about overstepping boundaries. Other great birthday gifts include gift cards to mentioned favorite stores, flowers, candy or chocolates, balloons, or books that line up with favorite hobbies.
Whenever someone retires it’s a big deal for everybody in the company. There is usually a party of some sort (often paid for by the company but make sure you contribute to the pool if one gets set up). Retirement gifts usually run on the fancier side than something you would get someone for a birthday or a holiday gift.
Simple pieces of jewelry, fancy bottles of wine or harder alcohol, passes for a spa, etc. It’s not uncommon for co-workers to go in together to afford some of these things. Talk to the people in your office about everybody pitching in on several bigger gifts instead of everybody buying smaller independent gifts.
Giving your office-mates gifts for the holidays can be tricky. Even if you are simply giving out cards (like on Valentine’s day), you need to make sure that—if you want to give one person a gift—you buy or make enough to give out to everybody.
Yes, it might feel like grade school, but even as adults it sucks to be excluded from someone’s thoughts when it comes to gift giving. The easiest way to approach holiday gift giving is to stick to greeting cards with cheap gift cards, like maybe giving everybody a five dollar gift card to Starbucks. You can also get a big bunch of flowers and divide it up so that everybody gets one or two.
These are just some of the ways to make sure that you navigate the waters of office-based gift giving safely. The basic rule of thumb is this: when in doubt, play it safe and make sure everybody feels included. If you’ve really bonded with someone and want to get them something more personal, you can always give it to them after office hours are done!
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