In his book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," noted business guru Stephen Covey advises people to make deposits in the "emotional bank accounts" they hold with family and friends. His advice holds true for officemates as well. Gift giving, whether at holidays, birthdays or other occasions, is one way to establish the trust and understanding that Covey says is essential in maintaining successful relationships.
Gifts Based on Hobbies
Does your officemate love to garden? Go on vacations? Watch a favorite TV show? Show that you listen and understand who your officemate is by giving a gift that reflects her interests. Any gardener needs a really good pair of gardening gloves or a fancy sprinkler head. Someone who takes trips could use a gift basket filled with travel-size containers or a pair of lightweight slippers. For the officemate with a favorite TV show, see if the program has a Web site for clothing or trinkets with the show's logo.
If you are unsure about hobbies or you simply don't know about your officemate's home décor style, try a purchased or homemade food gift. Possible items include homemade scones, jam or liqueur, such as the trendy liqueur for the 2010 holiday season, limoncello. Consider a specialty food item produced in your neighborhood or hometown such as cheese, sausages, or olives. If your officemate is a tea drinker, give an assortment of specialty teas. If he raves about coffee, give a gift certificate to a local coffee shop or a pound of a specialty blend.
Ideas for Multiple People
If you plan to give everyone in the office a gift, consider giving them all the same gift such as travel mugs in different colors, holiday ornaments of different sorts or even holiday socks. These similar but different gifts can build office morale and will also eliminate any perceived slights about who received a better or more appropriate gift.
What Not to Give
Show your officemates consideration by refraining from giving candy to those who are trying to lose weight or trying to eat healthy foods. Be careful, too, with sarcastic or joke gifts. These might be more amusing to you than they are to your officemate---save them only for those who you have worked with for a long time and who you really know well. Even then, consider the effect the gift may have on other employees who have different senses of humor.
- Photo Credit office birthday image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com wooden spoons image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com Strawberry Jam image by lefebvre_jonathan from Fotolia.com socks 24 image by chrisharvey from Fotolia.com
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