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Gift Ideas for Co-Workers: Office Gifting... What's Appropriate (and What's Not)

Aug 4, 2008
Don't make a mistake that could end up costing you your job. This article is designed to provide you with gift ideas for co-workers. You'll learn about what's appropriate and what isn't for the workplace. Specifics may vary from person to person; however, the following information includes helpful and important guidelines from which everyone can benefit.

Like most other people in the corporate world, you probably struggle each year deciding on what are the right gifts for your co-workers, your subordinates or your supervisors. If you spend too much money, you could look like a fool. Same thing happens if you spend too little. If you buy something that is perceived as inappropriate, you may end up losing your job. Coming up with gift ideas for your co-workers can be frustrating and difficult.

We have some straightforward rules of thumb that may assist you with gift ideas for co-workers and help you avoid the headaches.

Avoid personal gifts. Jewelry and clothing are two examples. If you have to know a person's size or color preference, chances are that the gift you're thinking about buying is too intimate. Remember that even though the people you work with might also be your friends, the relationship is first and foremost a business one.

Do not be overly extravagant. How much a person spends on a business gift can vary widely by each individual. Yet, it's probably good policy to steer clear of gifts that automatically suggest extravagance such as pricey watches or high-ticket electronics. Try to find out what your co-workers are spending so you can gauge the average on how much to spend.

Stay away from gag gifts. These are best suited for social occasions, and although you may get a short laugh, in the long run your sense of humor could be taken the wrong way.

Consult with people close to your recipient. Let's say you're buying a gift for the head of your department. If that person has an assistant, ask the assistant what they think would be a great gift. You'll likely get some terrific ideas.

Wrap the gift. It can be awkward to give a gift in a way that looks as though you just came from the store. Always wrap business gifts to help celebrate the seasonal thoughts behind the gift and also to express that you took the extra time to make the gift special.

Include a card. Just a simple gift card will do. It should only be used to identify who the gift came from. This will help make the presentation of the gift complete, and it will help the recipient remember who gave them the gift.

Present each gift personally, if possible. Instead of having someone else, perhaps a subordinate, pass out the gifts to the staff, do it yourself demonstrating how important each recipient is to you.
About the Author
Sharon Mann is President of the I Hate Filing Club, a group of nearly 100,000 office professionals who hate filing but love finding new ways to become more organized. Here are some appropriate gift ideas for co-workers for your next office party. Visit our website for details.
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