Whether it’s celebrating birthdays, promotions, or any other celebration at the office, there’s often something that catches us off guard and requires us to buy a gift for a colleague. Gifts always help to form relationships and friendships and boost morale within the workplace.
However, it can be really hard to know what to buy for work colleagues, and sometimes to know how much to spend on a gift. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of employee gift ideas to suit any occasion and any budget, which will hopefully give some inspiration for the next gift occasion.
Classic Employee Gift Ideas
Reusable Coffee Mug
In recent years, reusable mugs and cups have become more and more popular, as they’re stylish, useful, and help to save the environment as well. They make a great gift for a colleague as they can be used to bring their morning tea or coffee into the office straight from home, to fill up in the office during break-times, or even act as substitutes for single-use cups at most coffee shops. Ecoffee Cup has a huge range of colors, patterns, and sizes to choose from at competitive prices.
Reusable Water Bottle
Along the same lines, a reusable water bottle is another employee gift idea that will always come in handy while at work, and outside of the office. Chilly’s water bottles are some of the best out there, come in loads of patterns and colors, and are really on-trend at the moment. They not only keep water cold for 24 hours no matter what the outside temperature, but can also keep hot drinks and soups from going cold for up to 12 hours, making them a useful gift.
Candles are almost always a fail-safe gift for female colleagues that you might struggle with what to buy for. Yankee Candle, Bed Bath and Beyond, and even Amazon have a huge range of scented candles that are guaranteed to go down well when you’re struggling for ideas!
Bottle of Wine
Alcohol is a really classic and popular employee gift idea to give for any occasion, at any time of the year. So many of us drink it, and so a nice bottle of wine is great for a celebration to be opened on the spot, or to take home and keep for another day. Prosecco or even champagne goes down a treat after a team accomplishment or someone’s promoted to celebrate their success with style!
Mini Alcohol Bottles
Again, alcohol is always a good employee gift idea, and if you want to step outside the box a little bit, then a set of mini gin, vodka, or whisky bottles is a unique and interesting gift. They often come in different flavors, so can be great to try out new combinations for liquor lovers.
The Bottle Club allows you to buy all the miniature bottles separately so that you can make up a personalized, unique gift for a colleague. Alternatively, you can find a whole bunch of already made-up gift box liquor selections from the store.
Small, indoor potted plants are a great employee gift idea as they can be placed on their desk in the office afterward for decoration. They not only look good but have been proven to remove toxins from the air, improve oxygen circulation and even increase productivity and concentration levels in the office, therefore making them a useful and beautiful present!
For those working in an office environment, stationery is often a good employee gift idea, as pens and markers can go missing easily throughout the day. Personalized engraved pens, such as this one can be found in a range of stores, and give the gift a really meaningful touch.
They are unlikely to go missing when they have someone’s name on them as well! Diaries or planners can also be personalized and can be a really cute and useful employee gift idea, especially for those colleagues who need a little help with their organization skills!
Flowers are another really classic employee gift idea for a colleague, that you can’t go wrong with. Whether you pick up a bunch from your local store or order a box from an online store such as Interflora or From You Flowers to be delivered straight to the office, they usually go down well and show that you have put thought into your gift.
Chocolates and Sweets
Probably one of the most popular employee gift ideas for giving within the office environment, and outside is chocolates or sweets. The chocolate industry is currently worth $45 billion dollars, and it’s no surprise considering how much of the stuff we love to eat! This means that it’s not hard to find at all, and you can find a selection of gift boxes at almost any store, perfect for any colleague. There are also loads of chocolate brands that do their own range of gift boxes such as Lindt or Hersheys.
If they have a sweeter tooth, however, they might prefer to receive a box of sweets instead, and with the confectionery industry becoming larger than ever, there’s no shortage of places to find these. Etsy often has great selections of homemade fudge boxes, or Sweetzy lets you choose your own selection of sweets for a range of different weights, and even offers a ‘birthday box’ that you can personalize.
Budget Employee Gifts
It’s always hard to have to splash out on gifts for colleagues, but finding good, well-priced presents can be difficult. We’ve put together a list of our favorite employee gift ideas under $20, as well as those under $10. All of these gifts are suitable for most occasions, and while we might still be a few months from the winter holidays, some of these might serve as Secret Santa presents or double up as cute stocking fillers as well!
To save even more money, you could even try your hand at making your own gifts from scratch, which adds a touch of uniqueness and can sometimes be more meaningful. This video has some great ideas for making DIY Christmas gifts that will be popular with not only your colleagues but family and friends too.
Employee Gift Ideas Under $20
For only $15, this Spumante doesn’t taste cheap and is as good as any bottle of Prosecco. Wine is often a popular gift to give a coworker, as it is usually well received and easy to pick out. Sparkling wine is great for a celebratory occasion, as it can be opened in the office for a treat, or you could opt for a more subdued, yet classy bottle of red wine or rosé as a birthday or Christmas gift for a colleague.
This adorable box of chocolates is slightly more expensive than what you might find in the store, but it’s certainly worth the money. Packed with 6 fresh, homemade chocolates, this confectionary selection is particularly popular in the UK (where even with a postage charge, you still won’t pay more than £20 for it), but international delivery is an option!
This simple but cute plant pot is especially good for a gift for a colleague, as it’s perfect to put on top of a desk in the office. At less than $12, you’ve got cash to spare, letting you buy an indoor plant as well, like this $5.00 ‘Wallace plant’ for a perfect, ready planted employee gift idea!
All of Bath and Body Works’ mini gift sets are priced at just $13.50, making them a perfect little Secret Santa gift or stocking filler for a colleague when the winter holidays come, although they’re good for a gift anytime. There’s a whole range to choose from, which means that you can choose one specifically that fits with the colleagues’ personality. They’re also great for family members or even for a special treat for yourself!
Employee Gift Ideas Under $10
Scented candles are a fail-safe present for any colleague that you might not know so well, but are still on good terms with. This Chesapeake Bay water lily pear scented candle is made from natural soy wax and is 100% recyclable, so it’s great for those environmentally conscious colleagues as well!
This slogan coffee mug is not only convenient but sure to get a laugh from coworkers. Mugs are a classic workplace gift, and amazon stocks plenty for reasonable prices, including ones that can be personalized!
This mini pamper kit from UpCircle is another perfect gift for a Christmas Secret Santa addition, as an addition to a larger collection of beautiful gifts, or alone for a small, yet luxurious present. It contains 5 mini bottles of popular UpCircle products including a citrus scrub and a face mask in order to try the products out. A great thing about this employee gift idea is that it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and made with sustainable ingredients, so not only is it great for you, it’s great for the planet too.
This understated and minimal photo holder is a great way to make a gift more meaningful, and it puts the photo at the center of attention. For a more personalized gift to give a colleague that you’re especially close with, you could choose to find a photo of both of you, and place it in this cute wooden photo holder. Alternatively, it could be a great way to celebrate finishing a project, with a photo of the whole team placed in the holder. It can easily be placed on a desk in the office as a cute reminder of the thoughtful gift, and the celebration.
Employee Gift Etiquette
In a work environment, it’s a good idea to stick to some rules when it comes to gift-giving so that it doesn’t come across in the wrong way. Some gifts can be inappropriate to give to colleagues, so we’ve put together a short list of general etiquette guidelines to keep in mind when searching for gifts.
Don’t give cash as a gift
Cash should always be considered an inappropriate gift in the workplace as it can be considered tacky and is not meaningful. As a general rule, cash should only be given as a bonus from the company and not exchanged between employees. However, you can rely on gift cards as a good gift to replace cash, as they are more personal but not too specific, and the recipient can use them to buy something that they want specifically.
Don’t spend too much
Spending too much money on a gift can look like you’re trying to outdo or outshine other employees who have spent less money on their gifts. It can also be a little awkward and can make the recipient feel uncomfortable if the gift is particularly extravagant. It’s also a good idea to be aware of not spending too little on a gift, or you can look lazy or come across like you don’t care about the gift. In general, it’s best to ask around other colleagues if you’re unsure of how much you should be spending in order to get an idea of how much others are willing to spend on their gifts.
Be Aware of Inappropriate Gifts
Depending on how well you know the colleague, some gifts may be considered too personal or inappropriate. For instance, jewelry and perfume are generally inappropriate to give to coworkers that you wouldn’t consider a friend outside of work as well.
If you are close with the colleague, then you will know what they will like and will be able to purchase an appropriate gift for them. However, if you don’t know them well but are still expected to give gifts, especially around the holidays, it’s probably best to stick to a generic gift such as a bottle of liquor or houseplant.
We hope that these employee gift ideas can give you some inspiration for the next celebration in your office, or even prepare you for the holidays when gift-giving is more common.