Thousands of employees worry every year during the holidays over appropriate business gifts and whether or not these gifts should, in fact, be given. Luckily, business gift giving does not have to be a chore if you follow a few do’s and don’ts.Company Policies Regarding Office GiftsIf this is your first year as an employee with your company, check with Human Resources to find out if there are any policies in effect relating to office gifts. If your company prohibits office gifts, you are done and off the hook. If your company allows office gifts and has related policies, such as the maximum dollar amount that you can spend, follow the policies to the letter. If your company does not have any policies about gift giving, ask your manager about what everyone has done in the past.Company Culture and GiftsWhile your company may not have written policies about office gifts, your company may have some unwritten rules or traditions during the holidays. These traditions might include:
White elephant gifts
These traditions may include the maximum amount of money that you can spend on a present. Usually, participation is not mandatory, but get involved and have fun. This is an opportunity to become more integrated with your fellow employees.Office Gifts and Your EmployeesIf you are planning on giving gifts to your employees, make sure that you give every one of your direct reports a gift, and spend the same amount on every one of them. Do not leave anyone out. If possible, give everyone the same gift, something that they can use on the job, such as a planner for the new year or a pen and pencil set.Business Gift Giving and Your ManagerThe last thing that you want to do is to look like you are trying to curry favor by giving the boss a present during the holidays. If none of your coworkers is planning on giving a gift to your manager, don’t plan on giving one yourself.Business Gift Giving Do’s
Do consider office-related gifts, such as pen sets or card holders.
Do think about the personality and interests of the person or persons to whom you will be giving gifts.
Do consider gourmet-type food gift baskets. People love to share. If the recipient is on a diet, look at fruit baskets.
Do consider giving to a charity for gifts. However, do not pick a charity that is controversial.
Do look at gift cards.
Do think about organizing a group gift for your boss.
Do think about other’s feelings. If you only plan on giving gifts to one or two people in your organization, give the gifts after hours off-site.
Do remember that this is your opportunity to give an extra “thank you” to those who have helped you throughout the year.
Office Gifts Don’ts
Don’t overspend, not just in terms of what your company’s policy dictates, but also in terms of your personal budget.
Don’t be completely tasteless when participating in a gag gift exchange. While you do want your gag gift to be “fun,” you do not want to embarrass a coworker with a vulgar gift.
Don’t assume that everyone likes the same things that you do. While you may have impeccable taste, you may end up insulting a coworker inadvertently. Besides, the intent of giving a gift is to make the gift’s recipient happy, not you.
Don’t give highly personal gifts such as colognes or body lotions.
Don’t give bottles of wine or alcohol.
Don’t showboat when giving a present. The focus is not on you.
Don’t give someone a gift just for the sake of giving a gift. Put some thought into it.
Don’t deliberately embarrass a coworker. For example, don’t give an employee who tends to rattle on a little at meetings a timer. This could be looked at as being rude, not funny.
Don’t leave buying your gifts until the last minute. Rushing will add back into your stress levels.
Don’t feel that you have to give your manager a gift if he or she gives one to you. Write a thank you note and mail it off. Make sure to mail it Ã?Â¢Ã’ÂEURÃ’Â” an e-mail won’t do.
Giving office gifts can be fun if you keep in mind a few simple rules. Remember to be courteous and to be considerate. Don’t leave your purchasing decisions to the last minute. Most of all, remember that the holidays just come once a year, and go with the flow.