Gift-Giving Conundrum

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National Boss Day just passed by, and often employees are confused about gifint policies in the workplace — not just for the boss, but also to and from fellow employees. It’s easy to get stressed about gift giving in the workplace because we often don’t know our colleagues or superiors as well as we would like, or even well enough to make an education guess about their tastes. But, if you use a little common sense and follow some basic rules, you’ll find office gift giving is actually easy and fun.

Get the facts — check your company employee handbook for guidelines on what’s acceptable and what’s not. Many companies simply discourage gift-giving. If your company doesn’t have guidelines, or the guidelines are vague, ask co-workers and colleagues what they typically do during occasions or holidays. If gift-giving is a normal practice, find out what “typical” gifts are. Of course, inappropriate gifts are never a good idea for co-workers or superiors! Stay away from overly personal items or gifts that might appear sexual or vulgar.

Use common sense. If you know your colleague or boss well, try to choose a simple, small gift based on their obvious likes and dislikes. In addition, give strong consideration to gifts that are useful and work-focused. You don’t have to know much about someone to get them something practical like stylish pen or business card holder. Many large companies even have online stores or physical storefronts where you can buy useful items with the company logo. Finally, if gift-giving is taboo or you still feel awkward about an actual gift item, it’s OK to go for a tasteful card. Most of the big-name greeting card makers have wonderful National Boss Day cards.

Make every effort to be inclusive. Giving a gift to the boss might be a good way to win a few brownie points with him, but chances are your co-workers might be a little peeved if they get purposefully left out. Plan for holidays ahead of time and ask your office mates if they would prefer to participate in a group gift. If you happen to have more than one boss, never exclude one from the gift giving.

If you’re still stuck, here are a few “sure-fire” gift ideas.

Plants. Small, easy to care-for plants and flowers often make great boss gifts. Plants brightenany office and many people find their presence relaxing. Plants are a particularly good option if the boss in question already has a few growing in their workplace. Hallmark has an awesome bonsai tree for beginners.

Cooking or food gift baskets. Gift sets or baskets with chocolates, small gourmet items, or baking mixes are often a fun option. Everyone loves brownies and chocolate.

Tasteful candles. Even men like a great candle. Quality candles are relaxing and smell great at the home or office.

Nice pens. Pens are great boss and co-worker gifts because they come in all shapes, sizes, and costs and because virtually everyone uses one.

Organizers or planners. We all need help planning and structuring our time. A stylish day planner or even personalized planner makes an excellent and practical gift for anyone at the office.


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