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Have you ever noticed how much harder it is to select the perfect present for a co-worker than say a friend or family member? Many people chalk this up to the relationship not being as strong, but while this is certainly a factor, the unwritten rules of how we are supposed to interact with each other in different contexts also come into play. Professional gift-giving comes with a whole different set of guidelines to personal gifting, and it can leave many confused as to what the proper etiquette is. That's why we've put together these tips for giving gifts in a professional setting:
When In Doubt
If you don't have that strong of a connection with the person for whom you’re buying – say they're a new client you want to wow or a team member you haven't interacted with much – it’s always wise to err on the side of caution.
In this instance, we suggest opting for corporate gifts. You've still got plenty of options to show that you care, but you should be fairly safe in terms of boundaries. Choose corporate gifts for times something impressive and personalized, but you, also, play it safe.
Coffee, Drinks & Snacks Are Always Great
The great thing about food is that your options are so varied that it's possible to find something even the pickiest eater should love. As long as you're aware of any dietary requirements of the recipient, gourmet hampers can make the perfect gift in a professional setting.
Choose Something Useful
When you're buying on a personal level, cute knick-knacks, clothing, and self-care products are always great options. However, when gifting in a professional setting, it is best to keep your gifts more tailored to useful functions than fun ones.
Not only could a gift that's too cutesy cross boundaries into the unacceptable territory but people may not actually be all that into the things they discuss at work. So, unless you're sure that a gift like this will be well received, we suggest steering clear.
Knowledge Is Power
If you know of any hobbies or interests of the recipient that they gain personal or professional growth from, something related to these activities will make a great present.
Are they learning a new language? Consider a gifted subscription to a platform that will help them with this. Perhaps they're a yoga lover? Why not give them a new mat or some free sessions at a local studio? Or, for the book worms out there, pretty much any literature will make them happy. If you can find out who their favorite authors are, this will make the gift more special without straying too far into personal territory.
Don't Cheap Out (But Don't Spend Too Much Either)
If you're buying for a gift exchange organized by your employer, you've probably got a set budget to work with. However, if your gift is for a special occasion, things can be a bit harder. You don't want to get the cheapest version of an item possible as this could be seen as offensive, but you also don't have to break the bank. The midrange is generally the best way to go if you want to avoid looking stingy but aren't rolling in extra cash.
Now you've got a better idea of how to navigate the world of giving gifts in a professional setting, it's time to go out and select the perfect present. Follow these tips, and your gift should be well-received and acceptable for any professional environment.