Gift-giving in the workplace can be challenging, especially when finding the right gift that shows appreciation and doesn’t feel awkward or impersonal.
However, thoughtful gifts can be a powerful tool for building a positive workplace culture and creating a sense of camaraderie among colleagues.
As Inside Small Business notes, “The more gratitude a company has for its people, the better the company performs.”
To help make your next staff gift-giving experience successful, we’ve compiled a list of unique and meaningful gift ideas for team members.
We’ve broken these gift ideas into different sections to provide options for different preferences and occasions, including budget-friendly options, eco-friendly gifts, experience gifts, meaningful gifts, and Christmas gifts.
Whether you’re looking for a personalised item or a heartfelt gesture, these gift ideas will make your staff and coworkers feel valued and appreciated and help strengthen your company culture.
Gift Ideas for Employees on a Budget (Under $10)
When it comes to employee gifts, it’s the thought that counts. While it’s easy to get carried away and spend a large amount of money on staff gifts, receiving a gift, no matter how big or small, will make any employee feel appreciated.
A small gift budget also doesn’t mean you must sacrifice the quality or style of the gifts you buy. Aim to purchase as high quality as your budget permits and source bulk buying discounts to reduce expenses. Check out our top budget-friendly employee gift ideas below.
Gift of Seeds
If you’re sourcing gifts on a limited budget or have many staff to buy for, spoil your employees with a Gift of Seeds.
Timeless in design and gentle on the planet, a Gift of Seeds is a thoughtful and affordable way to thank an employee. Designed to delight, each pack features beautiful botanical illustrations and cleverly combines a greeting card with a packet of seeds to form a gift to grow.
Choose from over 25 varieties and personalise each one with a thoughtful handwritten message on the back.If you’re buying more than 50 Gifts of Seeds, receive 20% off your order through Sow’ n Sow’s Corporate Gifting initiative.
Whatever hot beverage your staff choose, ceramic mugs are a workplace necessity. And, if you ask any serious tea or coffee drinker, they’ll tell you the secret to a better cup of morning joe is all in the mug.
Celebrate your employees’ outstanding work and give back to our First Nations peoples with a gift of a good quality mug featuring indigenous designs that speak of country, culture, and the Dreaming. These mugs by Maxwell Williams feature artwork by Australian artist Melanie Hava who has taken inspiration from both the reef and rainforest country of Far North Queensland.
Whether you supply cutlery or not, someone in the office will always miss out or forget to pack a set in their lunch bag before leaving home. Cutlery might seem like a very practical employee gift, but it’s a gift that will come in handy at some point.
Biome’s Wooden Spork is a fantastic eco-friendly gift your employees can stash away in the office drawer, ready to use when needed. Made from high-quality beechwood and coated in a food-safe water-based lacquer, this spork features an ergonomically curved handle for a comfortable grip, making it perfect for lunches and everyday use.
Experience Gifts for Staff
There’s nothing better than treating your hardworking employees with a gift that will help them switch off and unwind. And what better gift to give than the experience of learning something new?
Experience gifts are great for engaging and connecting employees in a more meaningful, authentic and creative way, and are a perfect alternative gift for those who don’t place much value on physical possessions.
Whether you use an experience gift as a team-building exercise or provide an individual experience for each employee, these gift ideas are guaranteed to please even the fussiest recipients.
Don’t have an office because your team works remotely? No worries! We’ve got fantastic options for remote workers below.
Indulge your employees and ignite their inner artists with a creative experience that’s built on connection and good times. Pinot & Picasso hosts team-building art classes in fun, relaxing, and collaborative group settings. With no artistic abilities required, the team will be guided by a local artist through basic painting techniques to create their very own masterpiece they can hang in the office or at home. Each session runs with popular music, and you can bring grazing platters and alcohol to enhance the experience.
Most workplaces have a coffee machine for employees to use, but not everyone knows how to make good coffee. There are a lot of tricks to the trade for crafting a barista-quality coffee, from how you froth the milk to how you grind the beans. Kickstart your employees’ mornings at home and in the office with a barista course. They’ll learn the art of making the perfect cup of coffee in an uplifting team-building activity that explores the different types of coffees and techniques for creating each one.
If you have remote working employees, don’t let the lack of not being together in one location stop you from giving them an experience gift. Instead, spoil them with a Masterclass subscription where they can learn a range of skills from 150+ instructors whenever it suits them. From acting and cooking to writing and wellness classes, a Masterclass subscription is the gift that will keep on giving.
Yoga and Mindfulness Class
There’s nothing better than a good stretch, especially when you’ve been sitting at a computer. Improve your employees’ general psychical and mental wellbeing while boosting the engagement and productivity of the workplace with the gift of yoga and mindfulness sessions.
Yogamigos offer mobile corporate yoga, pilates, and mindfulness sessions with an emphasis on stress management and physical and mental wellbeing. Host a team session in the comfort of the office or head to your nearest park and enjoy the sounds of nature as your team bend, stretch and practice mindfulness guided by a trained professional.
Gift tip: turn any team experience gifts into individual experience gifts by purchasing gift vouchers from the providers.
Eco-Friendly Gifts for Employees
What makes a great employee gift even better? One that doesn’t harm the planet!
Sadly, it’s estimated Australians receive over 20 million unwanted Christmas gifts each year, of which an alarming percentage end up in landfill or unused in homes for years to come. Giving eco-friendly gifts benefits not only your employees’ health but also the environment.
Sustainable gifting is an industry trend that has risen with consumer demand as the need to reduce our impact on the environment increases. While this gifting trend is here to stay, companies that proactively make sustainability core to business strategy have particularly embraced this trend as it aligns with their professional practices and values. Whether you’re searching for waste-free, plastic-free, ethical or recyclable gifts, show you care about the environment and the future of our planet with these eco-friendly gifts below.
Pop Up Pot
Brighten employees’ desks or clients’ homes with a Pop Up Pot – an innovative foldable plant pot that assembles with a quick pop. Sustainable in design, each Pop Up Pot is made in Australia from 100% recycled waste diverted from landfill, is certified carbon neutral and features striking original artwork by various artists. If you’re buying more than 50 Pop Up Pots, receive 20% off your order through Sow ‘n Sow’s Corporate Gifting initiative.
Plants are not only one of the most sustainable gifts you can give, and have the power to uplift an uninspiring clinical office environment. But did you know there is also scientific evidence that proves the presence of office plants reduces stress levels and even improves efficiency in the workplace? If you’re shopping for multiple employees, purchase a Peace Lily tube multi-pack from Plants in a Box and give each employee their own plant to nurture and grow.
Gift tip: Create a plant and pot hamper by combining this gift option with a Sow 'n Sow Pop Up Pot.
Did you know 140 million pens are sold in Australia annually, contributing to 700 tonnes of plastic entering landfill? Win over the hearts of the eco-conscious bright sparks in your workplace with a pack of colourful sustainable pens.
The Clicker Pen from Eco Pen contains 50% less plastic than traditional pens, saving 50% of plastic waste from landfill. It’s made from recycled cardboard and plastic/wheat ends and contains non-toxic and soy-based ink. Plus, Eco Pen plants a tree with every order.
Give your employees another reason to get excited about lunch with a stylish Travel Bowl from Pottery For The Planet. Designed to reduce single-use waste, these handy bowls are made of ceramic and include a 100% silicone lid to contain the contents in transport. They’re also stackable, making them perfect for the office fridge. Each bowl is handmade in Australia and is one of a kind, which means every employee’s gift is uniquely theirs to enjoy.
It’s shocking to know Australians purchase almost 15 billion plastic bottles every year, many of which end up in landfill or polluting our waterways. Encourage your employees to be part of the solution and reduce your company’s contribution to this plastic problem by gifting them a sustainably made reusable water bottle.
Worthy is ahead of the rest with their innovative Sugarcane Drink Bottles, designed and made in Melbourne from 100% sustainably grown Sugarcane. They are eco-friendly, non-toxic and 100% recyclable. But, best of all, their manufacturing process is carbon neutral and zero waste making them one of the greenest, cleanest bottles on the market.
Meaningful Gifts for Employees
Far too often, we spend unnecessary amounts of money on unconsidered gifts just for the sake of having something physical to present. A well-chosen gift is a great way to recognise employees, strengthen relationships and reward them for their work performance. And, while any gift will bring your employees joy, giving a more meaningful present is the best way to show you care. If buying stuff is not your jam and you would rather give meaningful gifts, then check out our top picks below.
Donation to a Charity
Giving is good business. It builds trust and connects people with a company’s culture, values, and purpose. Instead of giving your employees a physical gift, bring deeper meaning to your gift-giving event and give twice the joy with a charitable donation gift.
Choose one charity to donate a large portion to on behalf of your team or select individual charities that align with each employee’s philanthropic values. Mycause makes it easy to find and donate to over 4,000 Australian charities.
A gift from a notable brand committed to giving back is a wonderful alternative to a charitable donation, and what better business to support than one that changes the world both environmentally and socially?
Beekeeper Parade creates products made from textile waste destined for landfill, and every purchase supports education in rural Cambodia.
Their newly released Laptop Messenger Bag is perfect for employees who commute. It holds a laptop up to 16 inches wide, has a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap and three open pockets inside to contain documents and cables. Don’t have laptops in your office? Beekeeper Parade sells other gift-worthy products like pencil cases, backpacks and coin purses.
Bottle of Wine
Whether on its own or in a hamper, it’s not uncommon to gift employees a nice bottle of wine. While a sustainably made wine from a local winery is always an excellent choice, Little Ripples Wine is extra special. It’s not only sustainably made, but for every bottle of Little Ripples Wine purchased, a year of clean water is provided for a person in a developing community.
To date, with the support of their customers and their charity partner, The BridgIT Water Foundation, Little Ripples has constructed 24 water wells, providing the equivalent of 247,200 people with one year of clean, fresh water in Africa and India.
Gift tip: When gifting wine, we recommend checking all recipients are of legal drinking age.
Celebrating an employee’s significant birthday, work anniversary or retirement? A NoteCube is a sentimental gift for these milestone moments. NoteCube is a keepsake box filled with photos and personalised, heartfelt messages written by the gift-giver for the recipient.
Using NoteCube’s easy four-step process, collect memories and photos from a group of people, or go solo, then select 10-20 qualities. Within seconds, you’ll have up to 60 personalised messages written just for you. These messages are then bundled into a wooden box, ready for you to give to the recipient.
Christmas Gifts for Staff
Christmas is a key occasion for employee gifting. After tirelessly working all year, treating your employees to a festive gift before they go on holidays is a great way to show your appreciation, and when done right, it can help boost staff morale and productivity in the New Year. While it’s easy to purchase a generic gift for your staff, Christmas-themed gifts are particularly great for spreading festive cheer. Check out our favourite gifts to give during this time of the year.
Christmas Gift of Seeds
Don’t give your employees an ordinary greeting card this year. Send your employees off on Christmas holidays with festive wishes and seeds to grow. Specially designed for gifting, a Gift of Seeds not only features a botanical illustration and gold foiling for a festive touch, but a surprise packet of seeds inside.
Each Gift of Seeds contains a mix of seeds, a plant label, sowing instructions and an envelope for gifting. Whether you give it on its own or combine it with another gift, a Gift of Seeds is a perfect gift to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Gingerbread House Kit
Now here’s a fun Christmas gift for your employees! Test their building and decorating skills with a Gingerbread House Kit from Gingerbread Folk. Give each employee their own kit to take home or spice up your Christmas breakup party with a team gingerbread house decorating competition.
Each kit includes four walls, roof and chimney baseboards, royal-icing mix, piping bag and instructions. And there’s no need to worry about dietary requirements as these gingerbread kits are vegan, kosher and free from nuts, palm oil, gluten, colours, flavours and preservatives. They’re also freshly baked right here in Australia.
You can’t go past a Christmas tree ornament if you’re searching for an affordable festive gift. Nothing evokes holiday nostalgia more than decorating the Christmas tree, and what better way to celebrate the end of a big year than by giving your employees a beautiful decoration to admire?
Pashom creates sustainable Fair Trade felt Christmas decorations that are lovingly handmade by artisans in Nepal. From their incredibly popular Australian animal Christmas decorations to their surfing Santa and pet range, there’s a festive decoration to suit every employee.
Christmas Cookie Kit
Fill your employees’ homes with nostalgic Christmas scents of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg with a Christmas Cookie Kit from The Good Bakes Co. This insanely cute bake-at-home kit contains everything you need to make festive cookies loaded with white chocolate and cranberries. It’s a wonderful gift that will fill your employees’ hearts with joy and tummies with festive flavours.
Gifts for Staff: FAQs
Q: What is an appropriate amount to spend on an employee or coworker gift?
There are a few things you should consider before buying gifts for your employees that could impact how much you spend. While no formal spending limit advises an appropriate amount to spend on employee or co-worker gifts, there are Australian tax implications for the type of gifts you buy and the amount you spend.
In Australia, it’s best to limit the amount you spend on gifts for each employee to $300 per person, including GST, to avoid paying Fringe Benefits Tax, and only purchase non-entertainment gifts as they are completely tax deductible and GST credits can be claimed. Gifts such as tickets to a musical, concert, movie or sporting event, or a holiday are all considered entertainment gifts and are not tax deductible. We recommend sourcing advice from an accountant before purchasing employee gifts if you’re unsure of the tax implications.
Key points to consider before deciding how much to spend on employee gifts:
- The reason for buying a gift: Are you celebrating an employment anniversary, awarding staff for a significant business achievement, or celebrating a holiday? Different circumstances call for smaller or larger gift spending.
- How many gifts are you purchasing: The number of people you’re buying gifts for can impact the amount you can spend on each person.
- An employee’s religion and culture: Some religions and cultures don’t celebrate holidays such as Christmas or Easter, restricting an employee from exchanging gifts. These employees should never feel socially excluded because of this. Before arranging a gifting exchange, always check every employee’s gifting preference and offer suitable alternatives for those who can’t or don’t want to participate.
- Tax benefits: Non-entertainment gifts that cost less than $300 (inclusive of GST) are fully tax deductible with no Fringe Benefits Tax payable, and GST credits can be claimed.
Don’t break the bank: Some people can feel uncomfortable receiving lavish and expensive gifts. Avoid causing discomfort by spending a nominal amount of money on staff gifts.
Q: How can I ensure my gift is not too personal or inappropriate?
While there’s a significant list of appropriate employee and co-worker gifts, there are a few things to consider when gift shipping to avoid crossing the line between business and personal relationships.
Gifts we recommend avoiding:
- Intimate clothing
- Gag gifts
- Gifts that carry a discriminating or demeaning message
- Cash (gift cards are a suitable alternative)
- Personal care products
- Politically oriented and religious gifts
- Gifts that aren’t age appropriate
Generally, homewares, food and beverages, stationery, plants, gift cards and lunch containers are appropriate workplace gifts. Otherwise, a thoughtful, personalised employee gift is to make a donation in their name to a charity they support, or that’s meaningful to them.
Q: Should I give the same gift to everyone on my team?
There’s something special about giving a personalised gift, but if you have a large team, this option can be too time-consuming. There’s nothing wrong or inappropriate with giving every employee the same gift. You can always personalise each present with a handwritten card to the individual noting their achievements or thanking them for their work. But, if you give your employees different gifts, ensure they have the same value. Employee gifts should never be given unequally to avoid perceptions of favouritism.
Q: Is it okay to skip gift-giving altogether?
While gift-giving is an excellent way to show appreciation for an employee, it’s not mandatory. If money is tight, a simple card with a thoughtfully written message inside thanking the employee for their work is equally appreciated and, in some cases, more appreciated than a gift.
Results from a recent survey completed by 100,000 employees and conducted by Paul White, co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, found that almost half of all participants (47%) cite receiving verbal praise as their primary language of appreciation. This was followed by quality time with a supervisor or co-worker (26%) and closely followed by getting help from supervisors or colleagues on a project (22%). Surprisingly, only 6% of respondents identified gifts as the primary way they want a company to show appreciation proving that gifts are only one of the ways to make an employee feel valued.