Do’s and Don’ts for Office-Based Gifting

Giving presents to your friends and family is easy enough. Most of the time, you know these people well enough that you can pick a present that you know they’ll love with a decent amount of confidence. Plus, since these people love you very much, there’s also a good chance that if you do make a mistake, they’re not going to hold it against you.

On the other hand, giving gifts to people in the office can be a bit of a more daunting experience. You don’t always know your work colleagues as well as you would like, and if you choose the wrong present, then you’re going to end up creating an uncomfortable work environment for the weeks to come. Here are some dos and don’ts to get you on the right track.

1.    Do Go for the Group Boss Gift

No-one wants to be responsible for giving the boss a gift and looking as though they’re “kissing up”. You don’t want to take the risk of being the only person to give a gift to the boss, or the only one who doesn’t, so suggest a group gifting experience early instead. This way, you can all go in on a more substantial and meaningful gift for your boss, without anyone feeling uncomfortable.

If you absolutely have to give something alone, then it’s best to stick to something simple and heart-felt, like a fun plant for the office or a new tie. Stay away from anything too personal that could come across the wrong way.

2.    Don’t Overdo It

Most people don’t expect to have to spend a fortune on gifts for people in the office. Don’t be the one guy or girl who makes everyone feel uncomfortable because you’ve spent a fortune on every present. Instead, make sure you stick to a basic budget. If it helps, you can all agree on a price limit together.

If you’re afraid that the present you buy is going to look too cheap, then you could always add a little something extra to it, as long as you’re careful about not going too far over the limit. It’s also worth making sure that you don’t point out how much something costs if you haven’t agreed on a limit in advance. That’s just going to make people uncomfortable.

3.    Do Gift Discretely

If you’ve got a pretty large team, then you might not be able to give everyone a huge gift individually. There are going to be friends and closer people in your crew that you want to give presents to without making anyone else feel uncomfortable, so give the gift outside of the office. Whether it’s a promotion, a celebration for an engagement, or you just want to buy something for their birthday, don’t make it obvious that you’ve bought something.

Remember, if you’re not discrete enough with your presents, then you run the risk of your colleagues assuming that you’re going to buy them a present whenever they have an occasion worth celebrating.

4.    Don’t Give the Wrong Response

If you’re going to give gifts to people in your office, there’s a good chance that you’ll receive a gift back from time to time. Make sure you know how to respond in this situation. The last thing you want to do is point out that you spent more when you bought them a gift for their promotion than they spent on the present for your birthday, for instance.

Whatever the item might be, remember to smile and say thank you, and show your genuine gratitude for this person choosing to actually buy you something. Remember, even if you’ve bought presents for them in the past, that doesn’t mean that they have to purchase anything for you. Failing to say thank you properly could ruin the perception that people have of you.

5.    Do Go Beyond Material Objects

Finally, remember that if you want to give someone a gift in the office, it doesn’t have to be a material object. You could always give someone the gift of some mentorship advice or help them out by taking on some of their extra work so they can get home early to the wife one day.

You don’t have to feel guilty that you haven’t got someone something if you’re concerned that they bought a present for you on your birthday, but you haven’t done the same. Find a way to give back with your words and actions.

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