It's that time of year again! Cue the endless sales, shopping, and stress. While countless gift guides suggest the right thing for mom, husband, and neighbor, it's hard to find the perfect (yet appropriate) gift for a boss, client or co-worker. We're here to help, with 5 thoughtful and professional gift ideas, and 3 things you shouldn't give at work.
What to Give
Give: Desk Decor
Everyone needs office supplies, but they're a little boring for a gift. Why not offer a nice place to house them? Attractive accessories or small, unimposing decorations for the office, like a 3D logo from Shapeways, are a thoughtful adornment to the space.
Give: Tasty Treats
While foodie gift baskets can be impersonal, they're great because we all love food and they're definitely work appropriate. For a more thoughtful alternative, try to give a gift of food you know the recipient will like. Do they love to grill on the weekends? Perhaps a unique barbecue sauce would work. If you don't know their particular tastes, go local. A box of chocolates or cheeses from the shop downstairs is a lot more meaningful than a mass-produced gift basket.
Give: Tools they can Actually Use
If you want to make people really happy, give them tools that actually help at work. Products like the Tout Holiday Gift Card, which will help them get through their email faster and smarter, are great because they make life easier. And life's always better when it's a little easier. If you're on a budget, you can usually get a great deal on helpful products like Tout during the holidays.
Give: The Perfect Night Off
People need breaks in order to work well. A gift certificate to a great restaurant or a fun event can really show your thanks for an employee's hard work throughout the year. Just make sure you're not giving tickets to an event on short notice - you don't want to cause more stress by forcing someone to rearrange their schedule.
Give: One for the Road
Have a road warrior on your team? They can always use helpful tools to make travel faster. Try a gift like a solar phone charger - they'll stop worrying about being tied to a cord, and they'll appreciate the fact that your gift is one they can use every day.
What Not to Give
Don't Give: Gifts that Violate Company Guidelines
Most companies have rules that dictate gifting with clients, and many businesses also have rules about giving gifts in the office. If there's anything in your employee handbook that states guidelines for the holidays, make sure you follow them.
Don't Give: Gag Gifts
Just because you think someone will understand your humor doesn't mean they will. On top of that, even if the two of you understand the joke, a gag gift could easily be misconstrued by someone else in the office. The point of a gag gift is that it's funny, but you can't use it, so it's not very special anyway.
Don't Give: Anything Too Personal
Even if you feel close with people from work, it's best to err on the side of caution. Clothing, bath or body products, jewelry (anything very expensive, for that matter) or even flowers could all cross the line for a gift that's a bit too much. Stick to the gifts above, and you'll avoid any office awkwardness. Have you ever received a great (or terrible) professional gift? Share them in the comments below.