Gifts for coworkers can strengthen relationships but they can also backfire...
You spend a lot of time with your coworkers... Sometimes more than you spend with your family. You also go through a lot with the people you work with: whether it's a big client presentation or working together to close out the books at fiscal year end, the challenges you overcome with your team serve to strengthen and deepen the bond between employees.
As your work relationships start to feel more personal, how should you think about giving gifts to coworkers? When is it OK? How much should you spend? What kinds of gifts are appropriate in the workplace? These are all important questions that deserve serious consideration. Here are some gift ideas for coworkers and tips to ensure you deliver them the right way.
Tip #1: Be Discrete
Unless you intend to give gifts to EVERYONE, there's no reason that anyone other than the recipient should know about your gift. No matter what your intent, there's a good chance that someone will become jealous and wonder why they're not special enough to get one. If, on the other hand, you are giving office gifts to everyone be very deliberate about making sure they are comparable in value.
Tip #2: Make it Personal but not TOO Personal
Your gift should show that you really do know your co-worker, including what they like and don't like. Getting something too personal, however, can be seen as creepy and may even cause your co-worker's spouse or partner to question the nature of your relationship. In general, apparel that touches the skin and jewelry should be reserved for intimate relationships, not coworker relationships. Accessories like hats, scarves, etc., are usually OK. Flowers can be risky - make sure you know what message your flowers are sending.
Tip #3: Don't Go Overboard
While under-investing in cheap gifts can be bad, over-investing can be worse. It can make the recipient uncomfortable or, in superior / subordinate relationships, can emphasize the difference in wealth between giver and receiver. It's occasionally OK to get spendy, however. Examples would be the retirement of a long-term colleague, a gift for a mentor who's helped you through a big challenge, or a performance-related award that had pre-established value.
Tip #4: Make it Meaningful
It's great to receive nice stuff. It's even better when your gifts for coworkers come with a heartfelt and meaningful message. It's easy to assume that the recipient will know how you feel about them and why you're giving the gift but TELL THEM ANYWAY. Tell them in person, tell them in a card, or do both. You will make their day.
As you consider what to give, we recommend that you have a look at our AttaCoin "Sidecar" boxes. These thoughtful gifts will hold both the gift card of your choice and a beautiful 1.75" metal keepsake coin that the recipient can keep forever. Each thank you coin features an exclusive design which recognizes the coworker for their leadership, effort, mastery, creativity, or teamwork.
Tip #5: Make it Timely
If your gift is a "thank you" for something that someone has done for you, the sooner you deliver it the better. Rewards are most effective when they're delivered quickly and waiting too long can turn your positive gesture into a negative. Similarly, if the gift is to recognize an event like a birthday or completion of a major goal, delayed delivery will also significantly reduce the impact.
Giving office gifts can be a stressful but highly rewarding experience. If you do it the right way, you and your coworker will both be enriched.