What’s the best gift idea for my colleague?


Little Gift Guide

In the workplace, we often feel like we know our colleagues quite well. You spend hours together most days of the week, and for that reason it’s obvious that a relationship forms. However, how well do you know your colleagues in reality? Often, it’s not as well as you think. This becomes quickly apparent when it comes to things like birthday gifts, ‘Secret Santa’ experiences and similar kinds of gift-buying occasions. While you might think you know Mark from accounts, the void in your mind of what to buy him says otherwise!

So, how do you go about buying a particular gift for someone? How can you work out how to get the right gift idea? It’s very hard to give direct one-size-fits-all suggestions when it comes to gifts for colleagues. However, instead we recommend that you take the following into consideration with regards to choosing a gift for your colleague – with some good examples thrown in to get the ideas flowing.

Keeping it practical

First off, every gift that you buy someone should have some kind of practical use to it. Unless you know someone well, it’s hard to pull off a comedy gift without risking the recipient missing the punchline. It’s also a little too easy to make a joke that they might not find quite so funny after all. If you want to avoid that mistake, we recommend that you try and keep it practical. For example, if you were to be buying a gift for a colleague who just got a promotion, a good celebratory gift would make sense. Perhaps a bottle of something nice they like to drink, or perhaps a cool whiskey glass set? Whatever you decide to go for, always make sure that when they open the wrapping that they immediately understand why you chose that.

Find a genuine use

The other thing you need to do is make sure that it has a genuine use for them on a day-to-day basis. For example, you might find that one of the best things you could do is solve a problem that you see in the workplace. You could, for example, be working with someone who lacks organization or presentation skills. They might be good at what they do, but a touch too informal for the kind of role they are involved in. It’s an easy sort and something that can be quickly corrected if you take the time to do so.

Let’s take someone who is not the most organized. If you find it hard to find whatever on their desk, you might want to do them a favor and sort out that part of their workspace. All you need to do is invest a bit of time and money into finding a good quality desk organizer for them. It’s always very useful to find something that they will have an immediate use for. Use your observational skills, and you can spot an issue they have that you can easily help them to sort out.


  • Bamboo desk organizer with computer screen
  • Bamboo desk organizer with iMac on top
  • Image with and without bamboo desk organizer
  • Bamboo desk organizer with descriptions and MacBook

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Improve workplace confidence

Funny mug with a grumpy cat

Another thing you might find is useful when choosing gifts for colleagues is to check out their day-to-day workplace demeanour. For example, you might find someone who is not really fitting into the workplace dynamic yet. From maybe buying them a set of tickets to a local event or gig that you could go along with together (or even two tickets so they can choose their guest), to even something like a funny coffee mug to help them settle in. It’s all about trying to find a gift that can make them feel a bit more welcome.

Sometimes, the biggest problem that a colleague might have is feeling like they are part of the workplace dynamic. A swift and simple gift can make all the difference to turning that kind of mind-set around and making the person feel like they are welcome, which does a lot for workplace atmosphere. A gift can be just what is needed to help someone settle in.

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A sign of progress

Want to make someone feel like they are really making a big impact on the workplace? Get them a sign of their progress. A little gift that can show them how much their progress has impressed you, or how much the extra work they do around the place matters, can be incredibly useful. Not every gift for a work colleague has to be something funny, of course. If someone has perhaps gone from an entry-level role to a management position, get them something that feels suitable to that.

From getting them a little notepad organizer to even buying them a subscription to a useful time management app, you could really help them feel like the progress was deserved. If you get on with the person really well, you could get them a little tongue-in-cheek joke present. From an ornamental ball and chain to a clip-on tie, you could find all manner of little joke presents to both congratulate their improvement and make a little whimsy out of it.

Really, the best thing that you can do when choosing a present for a colleague is to make sure they feel validated by it. If someone has just received some good personal news or a professional promotion, let them know that you – and the rest of the team – are delighted about their deserved progress. It can make all the difference when they know that your workplace present comes from a good place.


Personalized Notepad on TablePersonalized Notepad whitePersonalized Notepad with glitterPersonalized Notepad white on tablePersonalized Notepad like a book

Making the decision

Of course, you need to be able to actually gauge the person before you buy for them. If you have been provided with a Secret Santa for someone in the workplace you don’t know, do some digging. Ask those they seem to speak with most: nothing says you don’t care more than a generic, bought-in-five-seconds present. Ask around and find out who they are and what they like to do, or what they struggle with. Whether your present makes them laugh, makes life easier, ensures they feel welcome or boosts their self-belief, it should come from a place of knowledge.

With these few tips you will hopefully find the right gift.

Because you don’t want to buy the WRONG gift right?


Women reacting about wrong gift


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