What Do you want for Christmas?*
November 10, 2012 6:17 AM   Subscribe

What are some ideas for an IT department Christmas/holiday gift that coveys the message: "It's been a stressful year, you've had very little leadership. Thanks for pulling together and working hard and producing results in spite of this"

I am in a new leadership position but am not new to the department. I have 11 very hard working employees on my team. There have been management changes in our organization throughout the last year that have made it tough on everyone. This group has done a great job of pulling together and continuing to provide excellent service in spite of the problems.

I would like to get my team members a small, meaningful token of appreciation. My budget is limited to $20 -$30 per person. My first thought is gift cards but the business office say NO! apparently because of some new regulations.

A few years ago before I was in this position. After a very stressful systems roll out our supervisor got us all Easy Buttons. Everybody loved them they were a hit primarily because they fit the theme of the project.
posted by jmsta to Work & Money (12 answers total)
Can you pool the money and get something cool for the office that everyone could enjoy? Something you'd have for a while like a fancy coffee machine or maybe even something temporary like a nice catered lunch.
posted by phunniemee at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2012

Pool the money and hire an in-office massage therapist for a ten minute neck and foot massage.
posted by Sal and Richard at 6:27 AM on November 10, 2012

$20-30 per person would buy a very nice lunch. Maybe take everybody out for a Christmas lunch somewhere nice?
posted by COD at 6:32 AM on November 10, 2012

Would it be at all possible to give them an extra couple of days off?
posted by cider at 6:34 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Afternoon off with optional lunch and a movie as a team. I hear the new Bond flick is pretty great.

Really $30 isn't going to do much materially so instead work on teambuilding.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:06 AM on November 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

A nice workday lunch and the option to leave for the day after that.
posted by kimberussell at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

Take them all to a really nice lunch.

Some seafood place, something like that. Spend a little more than 30 per person (50?) and take the heat from leadership.

Make a grimace when the bill arrives, tip well and say "well, that was a tad more than I expected, but you all are worth it." When you get the inevitable "are you going to get heat for spending that much" reply "Don't worry about it, I'll deal with my boss, and besides like I said you guys are worth it".

I'm telling you that move works wonders for morale.
posted by roboton666 at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2012

Yeah, the group lunch (at a nice restaurant: NOT brought brought into the office!) on company time sounds nice. Maybe set it up ahead of time with the restaurant so there are only three or four choices --- chicken, fish, vegetarian, ? --- will help keep the cost within your budget.

I would NOT recommend something like the massage: I'm sure there are members of your team who would NOT like that, especially in a work environment.
posted by easily confused at 8:46 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lunch on company time at a nice restaurant sounds really nice to me.

I would only recommend giving days off if people are generally using up their existing allotment and aren't so overwhelmed/over capacity in terms of workload that they feel like they can actually take them.

If someone gave me an extra day off right now, I would laugh at them - I have trouble enough clearing my schedule to take the ones I'm owed.
posted by scrute at 9:04 AM on November 10, 2012

Is the budget being set by someone who maybe doesn't understand the amount of stress they've endured?
posted by rhizome at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2012

Depending on the normal level of distraction in your work environment (do they have to do their jobs while dealing with nonstop interruptions?), how about giving them a few days each of "sequestration"? Basically, you intercept all their calls and visitors so they can have some time to really get things done in peace (or if they never get any down-time, you could even let them simply slack off completely for a day)? That way, you don't run into stupid HR policies on PTO. "Yup, Bill *cough* worked *cough* today - I just needed him to give 100% to Project-X without clueless users taking him out of the zone".

You'd need to have them take it one or two at a time, of course, and obviously if something major comes up that they need to handle immediately, let them have a "re-do" at a later date. But personally, I just want to do my work in peace most of the time, without the phone distracting me every 15 minutes.
posted by pla at 10:15 AM on November 10, 2012

Beer? I'm serious.
posted by bq at 12:50 PM on November 10, 2012

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