“But it’s funny!”, “He knows we didn’t mean it, it’s a joke”…never, ever should these words be uttered to your co-workers about a gift gone wrong. In case you’re not sure, we’re here to help you out. We can identify some pretty clear lines in the sand about what you should and shouldn’t give as a gift to your co-worker.
In case you think it’s just our view, never fear! We surveyed hundreds of our wise and wonderful organisers at GroupTogether who’ve been in the corporate world long enough to know what is appropriate and what is not.
We understand that you need to tailor your gift to the personality of your colleague. That’s a given, however, we caution you against giving a gift that is too personal. Here is our, “OMG! WHATEVER YOU GIVE – DO NOT GIVE THAT ” list to make sure that you get a warm thank you rather than the cold shoulder after you give your gift.
Even if you believe your team is really tight, giving gifts such as lingerie, perfume and scented candles are too intimate a gift from the office. Why? You run the risk of making the recipient feel uncomfortable and casting yourself as the creepy co-workers.
Likewise, gifts that imply that your colleague needs self-improvement are a big no-no. Just say no to gift certificates to hair salons, cosmetic retailers, body wash & lotions or personal hygiene gadgets (nose hair trimmers!). Even if you discount the “you-could-use-some-work” message you’re sending, there may be allergies that you are not aware of that would make the gift inadvisable.
While “experiential gifts” like a day spa retreat or a glamping weekend (glamorous camping) are a fun alternative gift, stay away giving the gift of a tanning salon or gym membership. You want to make them feel good, not insecure.
Ditto for all gifts that seem too romantic, such as long stem roses or expensive jewellery. Anything with diamonds, pearls, gemstones, and thorns are best avoided. The exception being a watch which is less polarizing from a romantic perspective.
Need we even mention that any religious or political items are not appropriate to be given in the office setting? If you know the person that well, perhaps a gift outside the office would be more appreciated and suitable.
Stay away from cheap gag gifts or corporate give-aways such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, or other branded items from the office that you can buy (or steal) cheaply. It will only make your gift feel cheap. Better a lovely card with warm wishes than a gift like this.
Finally, don’t go the other direction and give only utilitarian gifts, it takes the joy out of receiving a gift. No one wants to receive a dust-buster or toaster (no matter how useful it really might be :).
Too much information? We’ve come up with a cheat sheet for you.
Now that you know what not to give, check out our Best Gifts from the Office blog, for a wide selection of appropriate gifts.
It’s too easy, GroupTogether takes away the hassles by; inviting, reminding, collecting, tracking and transferring the money for you. Bonus! We also create an amazing group card with pics and messages from everyone in the office. You also are able to easily include co-workers from other divisions, from other other cities and from other countries to chip in for the group gift. To learn more, click GroupTogether for more information.
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