Ask around, and you’ll find that many professionals don’t feel they work in the most optimistic or fun-loving environment these days. The ongoing health crisis continues to make working from home feel increasingly normal and has further reduced coworker relationships to on-screen interactions. The fact of the matter is, work relationships are evolving, and they look different than a few years ago. One idea for adding a little closeness and kindness to the mix is giving gifts.
Just because we’ve moved past the holiday season doesn’t mean you can’t still spread a little cheer to your employees. Giving thoughtful gifts to your team is an easy, high-impact opportunity to say thanks.
Here are five reasons why you should give your employees gifts no matter what time of year it is.
1. Giving gifts improve coworker relationships
It’s easy to forget that we traditionally see the people we work with most days of the week. They’re a big part of our life, even if the eight (or sometimes 10) hours a day spent with them are largely over Zoom. If there are simple things you can do to improve your work relationships, they are absolutely worth doing.
Easy and thoughtful things like Uber Eats-ing a coffee to someone before a meeting or even just sending them an interesting article that reminds you of them is an affordable way to strengthen work relationships. Challenge yourself to get to know your coworkers. That might end up becoming the biggest gift of all. This is especially if a more positive relationship leads to greater enjoyment of the work experience.
2. Giving has a positive impact on others
Taking time out of your day, even if it’s just a few minutes, to let a coworker know you were thinking of them is a simple way to show someone you care about and appreciate them. Even small gestures, like a gift card to a favorite coffee shop, a bottle of hot sauce for that foodie employee or a travel guide for someone’s dream destination lets people know you see who they are beyond their job.
Boosting someone’s morale like this can improve their experience at work and even give their life greater meaning. Everyone likes to be uplifted, and showing a coworker that you listen to and care about their interests is an easy way to have a positive impact overall.
3. Gifts make people happier
Research out of Elon University in North Carolina shows that doing things for others improves happiness levels. This makes gift-giving a double win. Someone else gets a present, and you get to feel good for showing someone you care about them.
A gesture doesn’t have to be big or perfect, either. (There is no “perfect,” anyway.) Something is better than nothing and small simple acts, like buying someone their favorite candy at the store, can create plenty of happiness.
One of my favorite things to do is send coworkers a video link I think will make them laugh. For example, wonderful comedic actress Betty White just passed at the age of 99. I sent a video of her improvising on a Golden Girls episode, and it gave several people a good laugh. This is the type of thing that helps form a happier workplace culture.
4. Productivity will rise
When your team at work is founded on strong interpersonal relationships and a network of support, you and your coworkers will inevitably be more successful. Efficiency and productivity are often dependent on how a group of employees work together, and taking time out of your day to show appreciation for those you’re working with is sure to improve group collaboration. When someone feels appreciated they are more likely to be motivated and successful in their work. All of this leads to better end results, no matter what you’re working on or how you measure its success.
5. Giving demonstrates your determination on the job
By showing your coworkers or employees you appreciate them, you reflect the fact that you care about the work you’re doing. Giving gifts sends the message that work is a priority and that work relationships are an important part of that. This can ultimately end up positively impacting your success at the company and the way that your employees see you.
If you think about it, you might spend more time with coworkers than with many family and friends you consider yourself closest to. It doesn’t have to be the holiday season for you to show that giving to others is invaluable. The ongoing health crisis might be changing what “going into work” looks like, but it doesn’t need to sour the relationships you have with your team. Do something nice for someone else (and yourself) and let the people you work with know just how much you appreciate them — even if it is by buying a shot glass with the CEO’s face on it.
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