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What employees really think about office gifts

Office gift giving is never easy. And receiving an office gift isn’t much better (secret Santa anyone?). But with 2020 transforming how we work, office gifting is set for a transformation too.

In a recent survey of workplaces, group collecting platform Collection Pot found that 89% of people find organising office collections difficult.

Collection Pot also found that over 75% of office workers dread opening a gift in front of colleagues in case they don’t like the gift they have received. Whilst 69% of people haven’t liked a gift given to them at work.

The worst office gifts revealed by office workers in the Collection Pot survey include a plastic fork, branded company items, lobster claw gloves, a multipack of toilet roll, a sex toy, a cigarette lighter (for a non smoker) and novelty sunglasses.

The best office gifts revealed by workers in the survey were gift cards, a Gucci purse, a rugby jersey, tickets for a Champion’s League football game and a Peloton bike.

65% of respondents to the Collection Pot survey said they worry about contributing the right amount in office collections.

With the move to home working in 2020, unsurprisingly, all respondents said that office gift collections would be harder to organise.

In September, the Collection Pot app was introduced to the Microsoft Teams store as the only group collecting app in the Teams hub, making it easier for remote workers to collect for colleagues quickly and easily.

Data from Collection Pot shows the average donation given for a job leaver’s pot is £10, with an average number of 12 people contributing to it, making a healthy average pot of £120 for those leaving their job. Given the choice though, 72% of office workers would rather select their own gift, or even better, have the cash.

It was all of these office gifting issues and more that prompted founder Wendy Carter to set up Collection Pot after overhearing colleagues talk about being left to arrange the latest office collection.

Users set up pots for every kind of occasion, with office events like birthdays and people leaving being the most common. People can contribute digitally and can add a message. The virtual pot can then be redeemed by the recipient in a variety of ways including high street or local Town and City Gift Cards, and directly to their bank account, via VISA Direct.

“We introduced the ability for recipients of a pot to transfer it directly to their bank account in 2020,” said Wendy Carter,

We are facing tough times financially and that £120 could be much needed. I’m also not surprised to see that gift cards ranked as some of the best gifts received by office workers. If they have the option, people want choice about the gift they receive.”

“Before setting up Collection Pot, I found that there would often be discontent around the amount put into office collections. Some people felt they always had to put the lion’s share. Managers or more senior leaders might want to contribute more to an office gift for their staff without it being a big deal, just as an employee might only be able to afford to contribute £5.”

Paul Russell, doctor of psychology and founder of Luxury Academy said the idea of leaving gifts derives from Victorian times when you would give someone money to tide them over between ending one job and starting another.

“Gift giving in the office is laden with potential etiquette issues. People get fed up at being lumbered with organising the gift again and employees feel pressured into contributing a certain amount face to face. When it comes to actually purchasing a gift, you have to be extremely careful in what you buy.

“Most of us don’t know our colleagues well enough to present them with novelty gifts, yet we persist in doing it. At worst you will embarrass your colleague, and at best it will be a throwaway item they will never use again. With people working from home more, collecting and giving gifts digitally removes many of the etiquette dilemmas.”

Billed as a ‘platform for good’, Collection Pot is also used by charities for fundraising efforts. Collection Pot doesn’t charge charities for gift aid processing, typically 5% with other platforms. Similarly, there is no monthly fee to appear on the site.

“We give donators the option of giving ‘a little extra’ to cover the cost of processing fees,” said Adam Stevens, commercial director at Collection Pot. “This means when someone donates £30 to a charity and clicks to pay the extra, £3 on a £30 donation, the whole £30 goes to the charity. Because we have no gift aid processing charges or monthly fees for charities, the Collection Pot difference is around £1.15 on that £30 donation. That soon builds up for a charity.

Getting the Collection Pot app available through Microsoft Teams- with its 80 million daily users- was a real game changer for us and for charities, fundraisers and people wanting to easily collect for all manner of occasions.

“We are moving towards a cashless society. The pandemic has only exacerbated that change. Collection Pot works for the modern workplace, where teams are often scattered around the country. It makes something that is usually tricky to organise, simple but fun too. Being able to read the messages left by colleagues in your Collection Pot adds the human touch.”

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