Survey: Nearly Half of Workers Plan to Give Holiday Gifts to Colleagues

MENLO PARK, CA -- Office scrooges, step aside: A new survey by OfficeTeam suggests it really is better to give than to receive when it comes to holiday gifts at work. More than one-third of employees polled (34 percent) plan to get a present for their bosses this season, and nearly half (48 percent) intend to do so for a coworker. This compares to 29 percent who expect holiday gifts from their managers and 36 percent who anticipate receiving them from colleagues.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 455 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, “Do you plan to get a holiday gift for the following individuals?” Their responses:


Your boss


A coworker









Don't know/no answer  





Workers also were asked, “Do you expect to receive a holiday gift from the following individuals?” Their responses:


Your boss


A coworker









Don't know/no answer  






The survey results indicate that more women than men intend to play office elf, with 41 percent and 58 percent planning to give holiday presents to their bosses and colleagues, respectively. Workers between the ages of 18 and 34 also anticipate more gift giving than those in other age groups. Fifty percent said they will give a present to their manager and 62 percent plan to share some holiday cheer with coworkers.

See charts below for a full breakdown of results by gender and age:

Overall Results

Results by Gender

Results by Age

Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, noted employees should let the corporate culture be their guide when it comes to exchanging gifts at work. “When choosing presents for colleagues, it’s important to be thoughtful and appropriate,” he said. “New employees should check in with tenured staff for insight into prevailing customs.”   

OfficeTeam offers the following workplace gift-giving do’s and don’ts:



Feel it's necessary to exchange presents

Let colleagues know you enjoy working with them and have valued their help throughout the year

Break the bank when shopping for coworkers

Offer homemade treats or other meaningful presents to show you care

Give overly personal gifts, such as jewelry, to those you don't know well

Select items that are practical, especially those that can save individuals time

Pick a controversial or inappropriate present (e.g., religious-themed gift)

Ask around to determine what is appropriate based on the office setting and recipient

Overlook the details when preparing presents for others

Keep in mind that a nice package and thoughtful note can make more of an impression

Scramble to reciprocate if given an unexpected gift

Express your appreciation by writing a heartfelt thank-you note

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam provides businesses with the temporary administrative professionals they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support existing staff. The company has more than 325 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

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