Saying goodbye to a work colleague can be tough. It’s an unusual situation for us, because this isn’t a family member or a friend we’ve chosen. It’s somebody who we randomly ended up working with. There might be things in common, or there might not, and the friendship could have developed to all sorts of different levels. A colleague can be of any age and origin, possibly making them the type of person you wouldn’t really encounter in your personal life.
Then after the bond has been formed, after you’ve spent years or even decades working together – it’s time for your colleague to leave. That’s it, your time working together is over, and unless you’ve developed a friendship outside of work, you probably won’t see them many more times.
It can be a bit weird to say goodbye in this situation. It doesn’t fit most of the normal relationship types, so what’s the appropriate way to go? Here are 3 farewell gift ideas to help you make your choice, depending on the situation
Something Memorable for Special Colleagues
If you have a special coworker who has shared some great memories with you or your team, give them a gift that commemorates that. Maybe your colleague is switching firms or moving up the career ladder – remind them of their time with you by giving them a memorable photograph relating to your time together. You could also give them a gift which memorializes your shared profession, especially if they’re leaving the field or are retiring. Sometimes a souvenir from the office makes a great gift because it has a lot of memories attached to it.
Something Personalized for Friendly Colleagues
Maybe you have a colleague who you like, but who you weren’t particularly close to? Sometimes this isn’t for any reason other than you don’t work all that close together. If you see somebody twice a day for a few minutes, how close are you really going to get?!
Anyway, personalized gifts work for most people. It always comes across as thoughtful and special, even if it’s something simple like a mug or a pen. For bonus points you can go with an item that has a special value for the person, like if you know they’re an avid reader you could get a high-end personalized bookmark. If you don’t know them very well at all, it’s quite easy to go with a personalized box of chocolates or bottle of something fancy to drink. Consumables are always a safe bet!
Something Useful for the Colleague Moving Up, Away or to New Pastures
Sometimes your colleague might be one you respect and like, even if you aren’t massively close. This is the type of colleague who falls in between the types for gift suggestions 1 & 2. This is the mid-ground, and the best way to satisfy this one is to come with a gift that is useful. It could be related to your profession or it could be related to the new field they’ll be working in – or even the new location they’ll be working at! Things like a guide to local food places, or a gift-bag of useful accessories or trinkets, or perhaps even just a motivational poster for that new office. Any and all of these can be great gifts, so have a think about what fits in best and go for it!