a nice gift for coworkers
December 7, 2022 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Two of my junior coworkers have gone above and beyond this year in helping me with work overflow that was out of my control. I would like to give them something as a thank you. Is this weird, and if not what should I give them.

These coworkers do not report to me, they are just in entry level positions handling data entry. I have had three situations recently, one when I returned from a week long to find that the person assigned to cover my work didn't do ANYTHING and I was totally in the weeds as a result, and two other occasions when one of the facilities I managed had their GM out on PTO and then when they returned flooded me with gobs of invoices and reporting, many of which were time sensitive, and they happily jumped in to help me out. Our team overall is large and collaborative and structured intentionally to allow for people to help each other, and so this is very much part of our team culture if not company culture. Still, given that these three situations occurred back to back, their recent help has been a lifesaver and I want to acknowledge them. (Obviously we have a larger systemic problem with these situations where I've been flooded by surprise, and my manager is addressing that.)

1) is this weird? Would you feel uncomfortable if someone gave you a gift like this?

2) if it's not weird, what's a good gift? When I worked in Manhattan I usually would give colleagues gift cards to Starbucks or Chipotle or Pret a Manger, but I am in the boonies now and giving them a gift card to Cumberland Farms or Stewart's or something just strikes me as a bit sad.

Thoughts? There's a candy confectioner near me, as well as a brewery. Maybe gift cards for one of those places?

posted by nayantara to Work & Money (15 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: posters request -- frimble

You could always do Amex or Visa gift cards, which have the advantage of being useful nearly everywhere. I don't think it's weird at all.
posted by jquinby at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think I this particular circumstance a small gift is better than a gift card. If there’s a nice candy place, maybe just give some candy.
posted by vunder at 11:51 AM on December 7, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: It would be best if your organization has a formal recognition program. But if you do something yourself, make it very discrete -- as in "outside of work" discrete -- so no one else gets wind and is hurt at being left out.

I would be delighted if someone just noticed I had done extra for them: in the past, a thank you note got hung up in my cube for actual years. Some sweets would be fine; alcohol must be done outside of most work settings. Either one of those would make my day.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:52 AM on December 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

A nice bottle of wine is generally appreciated. Even if the recipient isn’t a big wine drinker, it comes in handy for taking to parties.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:53 AM on December 7, 2022

I’ve been in the position of your coworkers before and the best gift I got was a spot bonus. So if your company allows for you to recommend spot bonuses for others, then that would be incredible.

Otherwise a small gift like a gift card would be appreciated I’m sure. Seconding the Amex/visa instead of something more specific.
posted by bxvr at 11:53 AM on December 7, 2022

Best answer: Any gift in acknowledgement of their efforts should be on top of a note about each colleague to their manager specifying/praising what they did to help you and cc'ed to the colleague mentioned.
posted by DrGail at 11:59 AM on December 7, 2022 [26 favorites]

Lots of people don't drink for lots of reasons, including religion, health, and struggles with addiction. So I would advise against alcohol unless you know for sure the person drinks.

But this is a nice idea, and I agree a gift might be better than a gift card in this circumstance. I've given small picture frames for work gift swaps - most people can use a picture frame.
posted by FencingGal at 12:03 PM on December 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah--small box of chocolate or whatever, but definitely send them a thank-you note cc'ing their direct manager.
posted by praemunire at 12:14 PM on December 7, 2022 [3 favorites]

not weird at all, but very nice. I had a situation like that once where I happened to know that my co-worker really liked these fancy caramels made at a nunnery in Tennessee, so I ordered her a box and she was really delighted. maybe do some sleuthing to see if there is small special treat that each of them might like?
posted by supermedusa at 12:15 PM on December 7, 2022

I think this is nice! I wouldn't gift booze unless you're certain they drink. I'd also personally avoid sweets, if only because this seems to be everyone's go-to this time of year and it can get a bit overkill, even for people who like sweets (if you do go that route, I'd pick something shelf-stable). I know you say you're in the boonies, is there a restaurant or speciality-foods shop you could give a gift card to?
posted by coffeecat at 12:36 PM on December 7, 2022

I think a sincere thank you/holiday note is most appropriate and if available, a formal work-related recognition.
Please don't give alcohol.
posted by fies at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2022 [2 favorites]

Clearly thank them and make sure their supervisors know.

Provide glowing formal feedback if that is appropriate within the relevant organisational structures.

If your organisation has any formal recognition/reward programs, nominate them for that. We can nominate people for add on bonuses and smaller rewards. Always goes over very well. You may not be able to decide these things but I've always appreciated if a person I worked with nominated me, knowing full well that final decisions were taken by others. Knowing that people don't take you for granted goes a long way. And a handshake alone is not why most of us go to work.

If there is no way to formally reward them within the organisation then yes, any small gift would be nice. Especially if you happen to know of a specific like. But keep it small, you're making a gesture, you're not providing the financial recognition the organisation won't provide.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:35 PM on December 7, 2022 [4 favorites]

Please make sure your organization does not prohibit this sort of gift-giving. Some companies do. Cash and gift cards would likely be the most serious problem but other gifts could be covered. If you have a formal recognition program go through that (and send a note to their supervisor). Otherwise send a glowing note to their supervisor.
posted by marguerite at 7:45 AM on December 8, 2022

If you go the gift route, buy something made by a local artist, like a hand-made mug. Support your local artists!
posted by lois1950 at 12:12 PM on December 8, 2022

Candy is fine. And if you're in Stewart's region you're probably also in the region of where it would be easy to make up a gift basket of artisanal cheese, maple syrup, and a yummy variety of apple.
posted by metasarah at 9:20 AM on December 9, 2022

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