Giving good office gifts can be tricky. It is common to want to spread some holiday cheer, but when it comes to the various levels of power present in the workplace, it can be hard to know what is appropriate. The last thing anyone wants is to make their coworkers uncomfortable. To avoid this, here are a few rules you can follow to ensure you give nothing but joy with your gifts.
Give Downward, Not Upward
Managers and bosses should be giving gifts to their employees, not the other way around. This rule exists so nobody ever feels pressure to buy something for someone with the power to remove them from their position — that is a can of worms no one wants to open, and it can make buying a gift very stressful. Best just to avoid it entirely.
No Need to Be Super Personal
In fact, it may be best to stay as neutral as possible in your gift-giving. Unless you know your coworker as well as you do a sibling, there is always a chance you could miss the mark when giving too personal a gift. This does not mean you should give no thought to your gift at all — just make sure you are giving something that anybody can enjoy.
Steer Clear of Scented Products
Lotions, perfumes, and other products that are for use on the body should be considered off-limits. These things skew too close to the personal — gifts like these are simply too intimate for a professional setting. People can also be particularly sensitive to certain smells, so avoiding these products prevents you from accidentally offending any coworker’s nose.
Giving Food Gets Dicey
It is best to stay away from food gifts, as you never know what kind of dietary restrictions or allergies your employees may have. There’s nothing more embarrassing than giving meat to a vegetarian, bread to someone who cannot eat gluten, or wine to someone who is recently sober.
It’s best to stay away from food gifts, as you never know what kind of dietary restrictions or allergies your employees may have.
Make Sure Every Gift is Equal
You do not have to give the same gift to everyone in the office, just make sure they are all fairly equal in value — it is best if they do not stray outside a $10–$20 range of each other. You do not want anyone thinking you are picking favorites.
Gift Cards are Great, But They Are Taxable
Gift cards are commonly accepted gifts in the office and usually please everyone. Just keep in mind: it used to be the case that gift cards under $25 were small enough not to be counted as taxable income by the IRS, but unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
It is best to give a gift card to an establishment that sells many things, to give people a wide variety of purchases from which to choose. Try your local grocer, a food delivery app like Seamless, or an online store like iTunes. This way, you avoid potentially giving a Starbucks card to someone who cannot drink coffee.
Gift Suggestions for the Home Office
Still out of ideas for what to get your coworkers? With 2020 being as challenging as it was, it is safe to say gifts for the home office will be greatly appreciated. Try one of these gifts if you run out of ideas:
• Yeti Tumbler
Whether your employees use it for coffee, tea, or just plain water, it’s always nice to have something to drink at your desk. As a bonus, these handy tumblers keep drinks the same temperature for an absurdly long amount of time — long enough to last most of the workday.
• Cozy Blanket
It is winter and almost everyone spent most of the year at home, so they are probably ready for a new comfortable blanket. Show your employees you value the time they take to relax just as much as the time they spend working by giving them something nice to curl up in.
• Nice pens
Never underestimate the power of a good pen — it can make writing feel good, bringing a small amount of pleasure to what would otherwise be a routine task.
Show your employees you value the time they take to relax just as much as the time they spend working by giving them something nice to curl up in.
When in Doubt, Keep it Simple
Remember that a simple gift is better than no gift at all. There is no expectation to blow anyone’s mind with your incredible gift-giving skills. Try not to worry about it too much — just give them something simple that anybody could use to show your gratitude for all they have brought to the company. Follow the guidelines laid out above and you will be doing your part in bringing cheer to the office.
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