No matter the circumstances, someone leaving the organization can come as a shock, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time working together. The only thing that can lessen the bittersweet feeling are thoughtful going away gift ideas for coworkers.
Getting a valued colleague and member of your team something is a great way to send them off. It brings everyone closer together and enables you to maintain contact, long after they’ve moved on.
I searched the net for a few going away gift ideas that are sure to come in handy when the time comes. Keep reading to start wishlisting!
1. What to Do for a Coworker Leaving?
The first rule of giving your coworker a parting gift is to take their preferences into account. Working together on projects may not be enough of an indication, but the longer you’ve interacted with them beyond work, the more likely you are to know what they like and dislike.
The next thing to do is to decide on a budget and ask around to see how many members in the team or department are willing to chip in for a gift. It’s ideal if everyone contributes because you can then splurge a little. In reality, however, you have to consider that some coworkers may not be comfortable spending money on a colleague they barely know or do not get along with. You should not coerce or guilt members into contributing. Instead, leave the choice to them.
Now that you have an idea for the number of people chipping in, the next step is to decide the scale of your going away gift ideas for coworkers. If everyone can make it for an in-person event, you can throw them a party to send them off grandly. If employees are remote and the offboarding is remote too, then you can consider emailing them vouchers to their favorite outlets or shipping them a care package.
2. Gifts for Colleagues When Leaving Work
2.1 Photo frame
There are many ways to do this. You can buy a sturdy photo frame from Amazon or Etsy levelframes. Optionally, create a collage of all workmates and slip it into the frame before sending it out. Or leave it intentionally blank on the front and write heartfelt notes on the back which they’ll discover when they take out the frame to put a photo in.
2.2 Gag reel
Everyone can record a short message about their colleague and how much they’ll be missed. You can make it as creative and long as you like. Have everyone wear a silly hat or prop (like a clown’s nose) while they speak to make it funny. You can also do a gag reel where everyone intentionally uses sarcasm. Fair warning though, prank reels or rude wit is fine only if your colleague is a sport and knows it’s all in jest.
You can put together a care package containing items that your colleague has talked about getting in the past, or already has. These can be scented candles, a DIY beverage recipe (like a hot cocoa mix), wireless mouse or an embroidered neck rest!
2.4 Fare thee well Cards
Farewell or au revoir cards are always great whether or not you’re undecided about what to get your coworker. It can compliment another gift or be presented as is. Sites like Redbubble, Etsy and Amazon offer a range of both heartfelt and sarcastic cards that are sure to bring a smile on your coworker’s face when they open it!
2.5 Personalized shirt
Personalized tees are great going-away gift ideas for coworkers. This wasn’t for a coworker but I had gifted my friend a Homer Simpsons shirt for his birthday some years ago when he mentioned he loved the Simpsons. And he still has it! Customizing a shirt with photo prints of a group picture or the former coworker’s favorite show characters is something they will always appreciate. You’ll only need to size them up to get the right fit and see if there’s a shirt in the colors they like.
2.6 Tote bag
Tote bags or vegan leather clutches are a stylish and practical farewell gift for coworkers. They can use the compartments to store essentials, or on outings and travel. There are some great vegan options on Amazon, with my personal favorite being this laptop bag. If the coworker leaving is a working parent to a young child, you can also gift them a 3-in-1 baby bag that contains a foldable travel bassinet and changing station, like the model here. It’s a bit pricey, but the reviews indicate it’s worth it!
A bobblehead is a collectible doll and one of the best going-away gift ideas for coworkers. It’s a miniature version of you with a bobbing head that can be a nice addition to the personal effects on your desk. Bobbleheads can be personalized by sending the artist a picture of your coworker to create into a doll. It can be a bit expensive, costing anywhere between $200 to $2500 depending on where you want it shipped.
2.8 Stress ball
Stress balls or fidget spinners are inexpensive and fun for those coworkers prone to anxiety and restlessness. It can help your coworker de-stress at their new job, while giving them something to reminisce about fondly. Stress relief balls can be ordered in packs which is useful if you want different options. The act of squeezing one is also thought to improve blood circulation in the hands and wrist, which provides relief from cramps.
Scrapbooks with heartfelt notes, pictures and quotes are a classic farewell gift. It can be compiled and decorated with colors or animated online as a digitized scrapbook
2.10 Party hats
A party feels more legitimate if it’s in person, not to mention how much easier planning is. That being said, if the colleague leaving the team is virtual, you can still send them off by taking the party online! To get the party started, make a list of the things to ship to everyone, coworker included. The office budget should accommodate finger food, drinks and party ornaments like balloons and hats. Check in with everyone if they’ve received everything they need to pin up, and then surprise your coworker with a call! If you’re sending wine, you can all raise a glass together and toast to your coworker’s future!
2.11 Beauty and skincare hamper
A beauty and skin care hamper can be a bit on the higher end of your budget, but is nevertheless a thoughtful and more personalized going away gift ideas for coworkers. Women professionals are more likely to be aware of which brands come in hampers or in assembling one themselves by selecting a diverse range of beauty essentials. The hamper can include face masks, massagers, moisturizers, anti-tanning packs or a grooming kit and aftershave (for men).
2.12 Bon chance hamper
A bon chance hamper (french for best of luck!) is just the right choice to convey your best wishes to your departing coworker. Even if you’re not sure of what to include, you can enclose gift vouchers to online stores that they can get for themselves. Invite suggestions from everyone regarding what they’d like to add to the hamper. It can include cards,flowers, jars of their favorite spreads and jams, notepads, music CDs, stationery, water bottles or key rings. If you wish to make it more personal, you can throw in a signed photo album.
2.13 Charcuterie Board
A charcuterie board is perfect for non-vegetarians and cheese connoisseurs! It’s an elegant board comprising cured meats, cheeses,fruits and nuts and is usually served in gatherings as samplers. You can either get only the board and leave it upto the coworker who is leaving to decide on the condiments, or assemble one with everyone’s help. This is something you can serve at the aforementioned party or in future meet ups!
2.14 Custom cupcakes
Get hold of a bakery that does custom cupcakes and order a batch based on the number of words you want the lettering to say. Each cupcake can spell your sentiments, such as “You will be missed”, “or “traitor!” (if they can take it sportingly!).
2.15 Plush toy
Most coworkers may not want a fuss when they’re leaving. In such cases, a plush toy is one of the safer going away gift ideas for coworkers. You can get them something based on what they like, such as a dolphin or puppy plushie. It’s a cuddly and sentimental gift for the coworker leaving. Win-win!
3. What is the Best Farewell Gift for a Colleague?
The best going away gift ideas for coworkers is one that’s thoughtfully arranged and which they’ll get some use out of. Food and drink hampers, for example, are a great choice for a celebratory send off, but a more practical gift would be things that they’re likely to use everyday, such as stationery or support devices such as a pair of earphones or a mouse. Always go with a gift that is within your budget and vote on it so that everyone is in agreement that what you’re getting your coworker is something they’ll truly like and appreciate.
1. What are some tips to select the perfect goodbye gift?
Either ask their team members, or try to recollect conversations where your exiting coworker mentions a favorite item, be it electronics, clothing, footwear, food or drinks. Look at the options available online and offline and whether it can be delivered to their home address.
2. Should I prank my departing coworker with gag gifts?
Gag gifts depend on your relationship with the said coworker and the circumstances surrounding their exit. For example, if a person is being terminated, they may already be hurting and will not appreciate being pranked over and above this. Also, if you’re not that close and won’t know how they’ll react, it’s strongly recommended not to pull pranks that might offend them or hurt their sentiments.
3. Should the team give retiring coworkers anything?
Unless the coworker chooses to come out of it later for any reason, retirement from the force is usually permanent which means your paths are unlikely to cross in a professional context. In such cases, it is a nice gesture to gift them something to remember their time in office. If it’s your mentor leaving, try to schedule some facetime via lunch socials or a coffee run on their last day. You can offer to meet up outside and dine together one last time.