1. Business Ideas
  2. Business Plans
  3. Startup Basics
  4. Startup Funding
  5. Franchising
  6. Success Stories
  7. Entrepreneurs
  1. Sales & Marketing
  2. Finances
  3. Your Team
  4. Technology
  5. Social Media
  6. Security
  1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
  1. Leadership
  2. Women in Business
  3. Managing
  4. Strategy
  5. Personal Growth
  1. HR Solutions
  2. Financial Solutions
  3. Marketing Solutions
  4. Security Solutions
  5. Retail Solutions
  6. SMB Solutions
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Build Your Career Office Life

What Gift? Most Leaving Co-Workers Off Holiday Shopping List

What Gift? Most Leaving Co-Workers Off Holiday Shopping List
Credit: Iraua/Shutterstock

Compared to years past, there won't be as much gift-giving around the office this holiday season, new research finds.

Fewer workers are planning to give holiday gifts to co-workers, bosses, direct reports and other colleagues this year, and those who are, are planning to spend less, according to a study from the staffing firm Spherion.

Specifically, only 31 percent of employees will give gifts to their co-workers at their level this year, down from 38 percent in 2014, while just 28 percent are planning to give gifts to their boss, which is down from 34 percent a year ago. Additionally, 19 percent of the workers surveyed will give gifts to other colleagues, a decline from 24 percent in 2014. 

The research also found that only 17 percent of bosses plan to get their direct reports a holiday present this year, down slightly from last year's 18 percent.

The pressure of having to buy something for everyone can be contributed to this year's drop, with 41 percent of workers saying it's just too much. [5 Unique Businesses That Make Gift Giving Easier ]

Even those who are planning to get co-workers and bosses holiday gifts won't be going all out as they've done previously. The study revealed employees anticipate spending an average of $17 less on gifts for their immediate colleagues this year than last, and between $10 and $14 less on direct reports, bosses and other co-workers.

While the office might not be filled with presents, that doesn't mean there won't be any holiday cheer. Overall, 51 percent of those surveyed said their company will host some sort of party over the next month.

However, rather than celebrating specific holidays, many workers would prefer to have more of a generic party. Forty-four percent of the workers surveyed think their employer should host a general end-of-year celebration, not specific to religious or cultural beliefs, while 19 percent said their of company already has plans to host a nondenominational "holiday party" this year.

"While many offices and their workers want to acknowledge the holiday season within the workplace, many are struggling to find the right balance in making sure all employees feel comfortable and can enjoy celebrating," Sandy Mazur, division president for Spherion, said in a statement. "As the holiday season draws closer, it's important for companies and their workers to be transparent and set ground rules for gift-giving, décor and events that match their office culture, while also promoting the fun and camaraderie that this time of year is all about."

Regardless of the type of party that's thrown, most workers believe their employer does a good job of making everyone feel included. The study found that 53 percent of employees would give their company a grade of at least a "B" for their efforts in making sure all employees feel included and appreciated during the holiday season.

The study was based on surveys of among 2,104 adults ages 18 and older, 1,034 of whom are employed full or part time.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.