As the holidays approach once again, the question goes out across thousands of business offices everywhere - Should I give a gift to a colleague, co-worker, boss, subordinate, etc? And, if so, what is appropriate?
Gift giving in the office has come under fire in many circles in recent years. Claims of favoritism, bribery or just plain brown-nosing with the boss have made office gift giving suspect.
The choice to give or not to give should be based on the business culture of your office. If the tradition is long standing and everyone seems to join in the activity then, by all means, you should participate. Even if you do decide that gift giving is the acceptable practice in your work environment, deciding on the perfect business gift can be an entirely different concern.
There are a few categories of gifts that should be considered taboo under nearly all circumstances. Anything too blatantly expensive, anything of a personal nature or anything given to one co-worker that is not on par with gifts given to other co-workers should be avoided. Likewise, gifts with a secretive meaning understood only between the giver and the receiver should be shunned.
Holiday gift giving in the office should be about fun camaraderie. Consider gifts that fit in with the office function: desk calendars, pen holders, pen and pencil sets or date planners are appropriate and non-offensive choices. Consider group gifts for a small office setting: trays of homemade cookies and pastries, a box of candy or other treat that can be shared add to the festivities of the season. Personalized ornaments make great gifts that will serve to create fond memories years down the road. Or consider passing out lottery tickets to your co-workers. Nothing creates a greater sense of excitement than the hope of a chance at instant retirement when you hit for the big jackpot.
Gift cards are always appreciated by the receiver. They are simple, straightforward, and never out of place. Consider choosing gift cards that apply directly to the particular interests of each co-worker: restaurant gift cards to those who eat out often; gift cards to the bookstore for the avid readers among you; gift cards for the grocery store or gas station should work well for just about everyone. Other great corporate gift ideas and other motivational tools are addressed in online business management courses.
The perfect business gift isn't dependent on how much money is spent. The perfect gift is one that reflects thoughtfulness and consideration for those around you during the holidays.