Great Gift Ideas for the Office

Arden Executive Coaching | Great Gift Ideas for the Office

Office gifts can be tricky: To whom do you give and how? How much do you spend?

Well, we think of the etiquette as this:

  • Give from the heart, not obligation.
  • Do NOT give a gift to curry favor.
  • Give (overly) appropriate gifts rather than risk offending someone.  This includes no alcohol and preferably not food.  Certainly nothing political.
  • The thoughtfulness of the gift is even more important that the gift itself.  Better to give a thoughtful token than an extravagant generic item.

For these reasons, and just because they’re great, we love BOOKS!  Yes, they may not be the most original items, but they can express a lot of thought and care, plus be incredibly useful, form the basis of conversations to come, and are easy to purchase (and to stash in your desk for that last minute gift for the person you accidentally left off your list!)

Here are some of our favorite books for the workplace this year:

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our GoalsSucceed by Heidi Grant Halvorsen (see the Arden review of this book) Incredibly practical tips for goal setting and achievement!



Immunity to ChangeImmunity to Change by Kegan and Leahy  A dense and valuable read for anyone leading a substantial change within their organization.  We use this work as the basis for many Leadership Retreats.  Not an light read – but worth it!



Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things DoneExecution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Bossidy and Charan  Great for the bosses on your list.  It focuses on how to best use your attention at the top of the organization and how to apply all that practical knowledge without getting bogged down into the weeds because of it.



Do The WorkDo The Work by Steven Pressfield  Motivational, short and sweet.  Great stocking stuffer or small token for anyone taking on a new project, personal or professional.




ShineShine by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell (recommended by Executive Coach Janine Schindler)  In a recent McKinsey survey, employee motivation is sagging throughout the world—morale has fallen at almost half of all companies, at a time when businesses need engaged leaders and other employees willing to go above and beyond expectations. Organizations face the challenge of retaining talented people; talented performers are often the first to go.


Changing on the Job

Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World by Jennifer Garvey Berger (recommended by Executive Coach Steve Hansen)  “This book calls on us to become more capable, agile, and better aligned with the increasing complexity of a global economy, while showing us how to stitch together an approach to our work that is fit for this task.”—Sally DeWitt Miller, Director, Leadership Development Group, Microsoft Corporation


Lean In

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg This was one of the talks of the town this year from the COO of Facebook.  Part personal story and part advice to women in the workplace.  Good for younger women in the workplace.  Take what you like and leave the rest.  Will definitely start a conversation!



First 90 DaysThe First 90 Days by Michael Watkins  Great for the new person in the office or your friend taking on a new role in 2014.  Practical advice on making those first months in a new position count.



Happiness AdvantageThe Happiness Advantage : The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor  (recommended by Executive Coach Kathy Poehnert)  Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.  Great gift for anyone, and especially anyone you work with: has the added benefit of making your office a nicer place to be for all!


Push BackPushback by Selena Rezvani  Practical advice for women about standing up for themselves nad asking for what they want.  Good for the wallflower on your list, but not the experienced negotiator.



To Sell is HumanTo Sell is Human by Daniel Pink  Selling is really getting someone excited about your idea, and we need to do that all the time!  This is a good gift for those looking to influence others, especially if they don’t come by it naturally.



Your Brain at WorkYour Brain at Work by David Rock  Practical advice about how to best use the workday and your schedule to your advantage.  Brings brain science to the masses is a clear and useable way.



Harvard Business ReviewHarvard Business Review subscription or compilations: you can’t go wring with these, ever.


Remember, with any of these, the personal note you provide along with the book will say the most and establish the connection between you, them, and this book.  If you’ve read and enjoyed it, say why.  If you’ve heard somewhere it was good, tell them why you think they might enjoy it.

Give from the heart and you can’t go wrong.