Gift Ideas for Employees and Co-Workers Should Be Functional, Appropriate

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Giving gifts is a very old human trait. It helps to establish and strengthen relationships and signifies special bonds between individuals. There are very few, if any, circumstances when sincerely giving a gift is inappropriate; however, employers giving gifts to employees and co-workers gifting each other do require some thought.

In the workplace, functional gifts that reflect recipients’ personalities or styles are most appropriate and appreciated. Try to select gifts that both men and women would like, and you can afford. Gifts should never be cash or expensive, which could start rumors, as in the old, stereotypical scenario where the boss gives his young, attractive secretary jewelry or furs.

The best strategy for employers is to assume the role of an equal co-worker when giving gifts to employees. Make sure there is a clear distinction between gifts to co-workers and the bonuses and/or incentives they may receive at the end of the year, which they’ve earned as part of doing a good job, and you’ve awarded in the role of their employer.

Office etiquette experts suggest you consider the following workplace gift-giving ideas:

  • Check the employee handbook for any company rules about giving gifts.
  • Be aware of gift recipients who might be vegetarians or diabetics, or follow religious practices that would cause some gifts to be inappropriate.
  • Try to give gifts to co-workers privately.
  • As an alternative, give a gift that everyone in the office can enjoy, such as a food basket.
  • Most co-workers don’t need another desk decoration or knick-knack.
  • Think of a gift that could make the co-worker’s job easier and more relaxing, such as a back massager for his or her chair or a CD of relaxing music.
  • Give a gift that relates to a co-worker’s hobbies and interests.
  • Take a co-worker to lunch, or even dinner, who has been working long hours and eating at his or her desk.

The best method is to be creative and take the time to pick the best and most appropriate gift.

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