12 Gift Ideas to Give Your Coworkers on Their Birthday

FT Contributor  | 

If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company where you get along with your coworkers, you might feel inclined to buy them a gift when their birthday rolls around each year. Before you make a purchase, it’s important to understand the etiquette surrounding gift-giving in the workplace.

When it comes to gifts for your boss or a coworker, there are plenty of fun and politically correct options to choose from. Use some of the suggestions below to choose the perfect present to give to your coworker for their birthday.

1. A Relaxing Experience

Relaxing experiences are an excellent birthday gift idea for a coworker. It’s a way for your coworker to escape from the pressures of work, if only for a brief time. From a massage to a day at the spa, there are plenty of relaxing experiences to choose from. This gift is perfect for male or female coworkers — just be mindful of any personal preferences they may have.

The cost of this birthday present depends on the relaxing experience you choose to give. If you aren’t comfortable paying for a luxurious spa treatment, you might give your coworker a gift certificate to help pay for the balance of that experience. Depending on the experience you purchase, you might spend anywhere from $25 to $100.

2. Gift Card

Gift cards are ideal for anyone, from your coworkers to your friends and family. This gift is completely customizable, making it easy to make your coworker happy on their birthday. Whether they enjoy shopping at local retail stores or eating out at a particular restaurant, most locations offer gift cards. You simply have to choose the one that your coworker will appreciate the most!

Again, the cost of a gift card depends on how much you are willing to spend on your coworker. Typically the minimum amount you can place on a gift card is $5.

3. Desk Plant

Another gender-neutral option, a desk plant is a great birthday gift for that coworker with a green thumb. You can find desk plants in a variety of species and maintenance levels. Since the plant will most likely live on your coworker’s desk, it’s best to choose a plant that doesn’t require daily watering or too much natural sunlight.

The price of the desk plant you purchase is determined by the species and location you purchase it from, but most cost between $5 and $15.

4. Personalized Stationery

If your coworker prefers handwriting over digital messaging, personalized stationery is a thoughtful birthday gift idea. Whether it’s a custom legal pad or a set of paper and envelopes to write letters on, there are a variety of stationery sets to choose from. You can find personalized stationery at specialty stores or online at a variety of price points, depending on the card stock that you choose.

Prices typically range from $10 to $45, depending on the set. On Etsy, the average price for personalized stationery is $15.37. Once again, this gift idea is ideal for coworkers of all ages and genders.

5. Gift Basket

A gift basket is another great birthday gift idea for a coworker. If you know what your coworker’s interests are, you can search for or even create a gift basket that contains items they’ll enjoy. For instance, if your coworker likes to go to the movies, find a decorative basket, then purchase a gift card to the movies and movie-themed snacks to include in your display.

The price of a gift basket depends on the type of gift basket and the items you choose to include in it. The general range is for gift baskets for coworkers is $7 to $120.

6. Movie Passes

Another gift idea that’s appropriate for virtually any coworker is movie passes. These certificates are good for designated theaters and will allow your coworkers to see a movie of their choosing whenever they want to. It’s the perfect no-pressure gift for someone you’ve known a long time or just a few short weeks.

The price of the movie pass depends on the theater you purchase it from and the quantity that you buy. Note that movie passes for specialty showings of films, such as those in IMAX or Dolby theaters, may cost more. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the average cost of a ticket at the end of 2019 was $9.26. If you want to provide movie passes for your coworker, you would spend at least $10 on that gift.

7. Six-Port USB Charging Station

If you’ve ever been without a charger and had your phone battery die, you know all too well how essential a USB charging station is. Regardless of the type of devices your coworker has, a six-port charging station will keep all of their favorite electronics charged.

The cost of the charging station will be determined by the make and model that you choose. Note that those charging stations with more wattage capability tend to cost more. You might spend from $5 to $165, depending on the model you choose to gift.

8. Keyboard Cover

Keyboard covers are the perfect gift for the coworker who likes to customize their space, but they are also a great gift for someone looking to keep their space clean. Keyboard covers help prevent dirt, dust, and food particles from falling between the keys, allowing the keyboard to remain high-functioning.

On Etsy, a silicone keyboard cover will cost an average of $10.54, but you can find a range of covers at varying prices depending on the material and type of keyboard.

9. Car Mount for Cell Phone

Yet another gender-neutral gift that’s appropriate to give a coworker is a car mount for their cell phone. You can find a car mount for any kind of cellular device, making it easy to buy for virtually anyone. This is the ideal gift for that coworker who uses their phone for navigation or to listen to music while they are driving. The price of a cell phone car mount varies depending on the maker and model, with most falling into the $7 to $100 price range.

10. Desk Foot Hammock

Give your coworker the gift of fun with a desk foot hammock. This unique desk accessory will allow your coworker to release some tension on their lower back and rest their feet on a specially designed hammock. Some models attach directly to the desk, while others are stand-alone assemblies. Another gender-neutral gift option, a desk foot hammock is a gift that ranges in price depending on the model that you buy. You can find models as affordable as $5 and as expensive as $150.

11. Mouse and Wrist Pad

If you work in an office setting and use a computer on a daily basis, a mouse and wrist pad is a thoughtful gift for any coworker on their birthday. Often, you can find pads for mice and keyboards in a set. Plus, they come in a range of styles and patterns so you can find a mouse and wrist pad that your coworker will enjoy.

According to Etsy, the average mouse wrist rest costs $28.23 and a keyboard wrist rest is $31.26 on average.  

12. Blue Light Blocking Glasses

If you work in an office setting and use a computer all day, your coworker will appreciate blue light blocking glasses for their birthday. Looking at a computer for an extended period of time can cause damage to your eyes, but blue light glasses help to block the harmful glow of the computer and prevent eye exhaustion.

The price of blue light blocking glasses depends on whether or not they are prescription glasses, as well as the designer who makes them. Most cost between $5 and $50.

Depending on your relationship, you may also include a letter of appreciation with your coworker’s birthday gift. Having good coworkers is part of having a positive office culture and can ultimately impact your job satisfaction. Keep that in mind when considering whether or not to purchase a birthday gift for a coworker this year.


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