The holiday season spreads joy and a sense of giving to just about everywhere – including the office. While gifting is (usually) fine, there are some rules of etiquette for gifts in the workplace.
Don’t Make It Mandatory
Often times, office gifting creates stress for people and causes more problems than it’s worth. Each person in the office has different financial means–making gifts a delicate proposition.
No one in the office should feel pressured to participate in gift-giving. Even if the office has a tradition of company-wide or departmental gift exchanges or secret Santas, it should be optional to participate.
The bottom line is that you should be mindful that some employees might not have the means or the inclination to give presents to their coworkers.
Many employees like to pitch in for group gifts for their bosses or a specific person that helps a number of people in the office. When gifting as a group, a specific dollar amount should never be set or requested from each individual.
Asking a pool of people to give what they want and only if they can by a specific date is a much better approach. How much or how little someone chooses to give should also not be discussed among others. A specific gift idea should also not be predetermined as it would require a certain amount of money to be collected. Once the money is collected, the group can decide what gift would fit within the collected amount.
The Flow of Gifts
Gifting in an office environment should flow downwards–and there is a reason for this. This rule exists to keep employees from feeling obligated to get gifts for the people who sign their paychecks or are in control of their future employment.
Managers should not benefit from the employer/employee relationship, which also adversely affects the power dynamics in an office environment. Many bosses have a “no gifts” policy for precisely this reason.
The Best Gifts
Gifting food is something almost everyone loves and can enjoy without feeling the pressure to give something back in exchange. If you want to make a co-worker’s day, bring them their favorite coffee in the morning or bake them a batch of cookies.
You can gift the entire department by showing up with chili or a box of donuts, and they’ll inevitably enjoy that more than scented candle or paperweight that you could have wrapped up!
This holiday season, keep gifting fun, light, and pressure-free in the workplace. Give the gift of less stress by following these tips!