During festive times of the year, many offices like to get in the mood by launching gift-giving events and encouraging “Secret Santas.” These activities are fun ways to brighten potentially dull office days, but they bring with them some possible questions about the appropriate items to get as presents, and how to hand them out.
Fast Company contributor Brandee Sanders says that employees should be mindful of how other people will react when they see gifts being exchanged. Giving a present could be a well-intentioned act that ends up making other people feel uncomfortable or left out. One way to avoid this is for the giver to be discrete and leave the present for its recipient to open on their own, later.
“Although you only made purchases for a select few, you still want to keep the sense of inclusivity in your workplace and you don’t want to be labeled as the clicky person in the office,” Sanders writes. “Consider coming into work early and leaving gifts on people’s desks, or putting them in their office mailboxes if they’re small enough.”
Another reason workers might want to give gifts more subtly is to avoid the awkwardness of office power dynamics. An employee giving a present to someone in a higher position or vice-versa could be misconstrued if handled face-to-face. Leaving a gift to be found later keeps the exchange private and minimizes potential embarrassment depending on the atmosphere in your particular office.
The way your workplace lays out office furnishings, including the setup of desks and workstations, can impact these kinds of interactions by making it easier to find a specific person. Consider this when looking for quality office furniture, no matter what time of the year.