The holidays are a busy time at work and at home, and it’s not always easy to know how to handle holiday spirit at work. Workers and managers alike may want to thank employees and coworkers for their effort and assistance. Employees may wonder about gifting the boss. Brandon Miller, writing for Monster.com, advises to use caution when unsure about gift giving at work. He suggests paying attention to religious and cultural differences and traditions, as well as personal details such as tasteful heartfelt handmade gifts or creative cards or gift wrap. His workplace gift giving “Don’ts” include “loathsome” fruitcake, fragrances, or expensive gifts. Homemade treats, keychains, and picture frames top his “Do’s” list.
However you feel about workplace gift-giving, follow some do’s and don’ts to make sure you get it right this holiday season to make coworkers and supervisors feel merry and bright.
Workplace Gift Giving Do’s and Don’ts
What the Experts Say
Heed some expert business etiquette advice from the Lone Star State Protocol School of Texas. National etiquette and modern manners expert Dianne Gottsman says many employers traditionally gift their employees at the holidays, and many times, employees like to reciprocate. She suggests being conservative rather than elaborate with boss’s gifts, being careful not to give anything intimate or too personal. Chipping in with coworkers to get the boss a group gift is a good option. She advises the same for co-workers’ gifts, listing things like gift cards to local coffee shops, scarves or umbrellas, or candy.
Etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau advises keeping workplace gifts similar for everyone you give to so that there’s no perceived discrimination or favoritism. She says giving the boss a gift may be seen as trying to curry favor and may not be received well, and suggests a group gift or a simple holiday card.
Check Workplace Rules
Many workplaces have rules about office gift giving to avoid confusion or misunderstanding, and to comply with laws and regulations. When considering giving gifts at work, especially business gifts to vendors, customers, and service providers, be sure to check with company policy and rules for business gifts before giving anything. Sue Fox, writing for Business Etiquette for Dummies, advises being careful not to give anything too personal or humorous. Her other suggestions include staying conservative with gift giving because lavish gifts in business are in poor taste, and considering the gift of volunteering or charitable contributions as workplace gifts.
Holidays and the Workplace
When it comes to holidays and the workplace, it’s best to find out about company policies and traditions, and keep diverse cultures and religions in mind before giving gifts. Remember to be conservative, thoughtful, and appropriate, and consider focusing on gratitude rather than religion. It may help to think about how you feel when a coworker or boss gives you a gift, and how you want others to feel when getting a gift from you.
To learn more about gift-giving do’s and don’ts, download our FREE eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” by clicking the image below.
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