With Christmas just weeks away, UK workers will soon be selecting their Secret Santa present but for many, trying to find a suitable gift for co-workers or bosses, can be a minefield warns money saving website www.discountvouchers.co.uk and a leading behavioural expert, Professor Frances Gordon.
“Your Secret Santa gift can reveal a lot about the kind of person you are and, how you relate to your colleagues. Workers need to find the balance between festive fun and professional relationships, as well as being aware of sensitive cultural factors.” Commented Prof Gordon.
DiscountVouchers CEO Gareth Robinson suggests the following guidance points to bear in mind when choosing your Secret Santa gift:
The Thoughtless Gifter:
Gifts that have had no thought put into them can be counter- productive. Buying a cookery book or a set of cheap wine glasses shows that you are really not taking any interest in your work colleagues. Always try to buy something that shows you have been paying attention to their endearing character traits or working styles.
Over the Toppers:
Be careful not to appear too desperate to please by going over budget and buying your colleague a gift that says you like them a little more than is healthy in the workplace. Going over budget could also suggest you bought the gift at the last minute and make you look shallow or that you are bribing your way to promotion.
No sex please. We’re at work. Gifts with any kind of sexual theme are to be avoided as this could be construed as sexual harassment, especially if the recipient is junior to you.
Partying Like it’s 1975:
Bear in mind all the rules about equality in the workplace. Any gift that makes fun of people’s sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, age or disability can get you fired or, if you are a business owner, taken to court. Enough said.
The Bald Truth:
What you might think is a highly humorous gift may cause deep offence. Buying a joke toupee for your colleague or boss with the receding hairline may land you in trouble with the HR department or more likely affect your promotion prospects.
Toiletries are a problem area. You could be subconsciously flirting with a colleague or implying that they have a personal hygiene issue. There’s a good chance you won’t buy their preferred brand and it will end up in the “Thoughtless Gifters” category.
Inaction Equals Reaction:
Do take part. The Secret Santa is a bit of fun but it is also one of those workplace rituals that you have to join in with. If you decide to opt out then it could be interpreted as you not wanting to be a team player or just being a bit of a killjoy.