In the age of the Great Resignation—or "Reorganization," as many have taken to calling it—it's a reality that you might see some more of your coworkers coming and going. This, of course, begs the question: What kind of going away gifts should I get for my coworker? Or, what’s the best gift for an employee leaving?
Spoiler alert: we vote for custom t-shirts (and we also think they can go a long way in building a culture that employees don't want to leave in the first place), but we’ll get to that.
No matter why your coworker may be leaving their job—whether it’s to transition into a new one in the same field, to change career paths altogether, go full time with their side hustle, or just to take some much needed them-time—you want to show you care and that you support them. You want to let them know it was a genuine pleasure to work with them.
Now we all may know what it’s like to get a gift from an employer or coworker and think, “They don’t know me at all, huh?” This is not at all the reaction you want for your employee or coworker who’s leaving the team soon. You want to give the best “my favorite coworker is leaving” gift possible, so we’re here to help.
Choosing the Best Gift For A Coworker Who Is Leaving
Before we get into all the going away gift ideas for your coworker, let’s talk about how to choose something they will for-real appreciate. The secret to picking the perfect goodbye gift for coworkers is to find something that is both practical and personal.
You spend a decent amount of time with your coworker who is leaving, so think back to all those water cooler conversations of start of shift small talk. Think about their hobbies, their family, their favorite TV shows or movies, their lunchtime staples, and their go-to coffee orders. Think about what they have said they need or what they love to get as gifts. That’s how you can make it personal.
Then think of the kind of gift they will use. A good litmus test if you’re not sure is to ask yourself if you would use this gift or just find the next person to which you’d regift it. Don’t get something they will just throw in the trash the next day. Think of what would make their life easier. Think of what they would use every day. Or think of what would make their transition into a new job better. That’s how you can make it practical.
You can always, always do better than premade gift baskets or other basic going away gifts for coworkers.
So with that, here are our top 10 goodbye gift ideas that are both practical and personal.
1. Team T-Shirt, Obvi
Perhaps the best farewell gift is a team t-shirt. Okay—we'll address our obvious bias here, but can you blame us? Plus, we did warn you about this.
Just think of the possibilities! Let everyone on the team sign the shirt to present as a sentimental gift. Or get creative and tie dye your plain company tee with your coworker’s favorite colors to add a little spice to the gift. Or better yet, wrap a different gift in the shirt for a bonus gift and eco-friendly wrapping option.
Team t-shirts are important for any company or organization. Not only are they just super cool in general and a great way to build comradery, but they also make a great perk when you need to create gifts for employees for any occasion. Ordering team t-shirts a couple times a year will always boost morale! Everyone loves a new t-shirt.
We love t-shirts, obviously, but you may still be on the lookout for something else or for more going away gift ideas to give with a shirt. So, without further ado…
2. A Cozy Mug
Everyone loves a good mug. Whether they’re a coffee or tea drinker, your coworker will appreciate a gift they can use every day.
Gift it a company mug or get personal and grab one specific to your coworker. Think of their favorite TV show or podcast—check if there’s mug merch! Does your team have an inside joke they bring up at every meeting? Find a mug or order a custom one to reference the joke! Make it something your coworker can remember fondly or laugh about every time they take a sip of their morning joe.
Another great practical gift is a book. If your coworker is an avid reader, this one’s a no-brainer. Even if they’re a more casual reader, a book as a gift always lets the person know you put a good amount of thought into it. And if they’re not a reader at all, a good decorative book is still a good idea!
No matter your company’s field, there are many options of books that can complement the work your coworker has done. If you’re at a creative design agency, you could give a tabletop gallery of their favorite style. If you’re at a restaurant, you could give a recipe book. If you’re at an accounting firm, you could give a biography of a well-known businessperson.
Or, you could go a more personal route for picking out a book! Does your coworker have a Goodreads account? Get them something off their “Want to Read” list. Who’s their favorite superhero? Get them a comic book featuring their hero. What’s their favorite genre? Get them a well-reviewed book or a new release.
4. Travel Tumbler
Here in Orlando, we love our Corkcicles. A staple in our car cupholders and kitchen cabinets, there’s a Corkcicle for every occasion—even a coworker leaving.
They have a wide selection of insulated tumblers for water, coffee, tea, wine, you name it. And all in fresh and funky designs that are sure to make your coworker say, “Wow, that’s so cool!”
But of course, if you’re not digging the Corkcicle products, any travel tumbler makes a great gift!
5. Journal and Pen
Even in the age of working from home and online shopping, we don’t know anyone who doesn’t have to jot down a quick note every now and then. A notebook and a nice pen are always good gifts.
Here’s another chance to make the gift personal for your coworker! Find a journal in their favorite colors, featuring an inspirational quote, or matching their perfect and ideal aesthetic.
Pay attention to their favorite kind of pen and get them a set so they’re stocked up for their next endeavor! Do they only write in Sharpie pens? Ballpoint more their speed? Or maybe they’re a ride or die for a good mechanical pencil.
Plants make awesome gifts because not only are they pretty, but they’re a cute new friend as well. Shop around and find one that reflects your coworker’s personality!
Is your coworker always poised and good at taking care of things? A small rubber tree would be great for them!
Are they more aloof and need something that won’t easily be killed? Try a tiny cactus or succulent!
Maybe they’re a little forgetful but always brighten up the room. A peace lily will always tell them when it needs more water.
You’re not sure what kind of plant would be best? Can’t go wrong with a good pothos.
7. Decorative Clock
Here’s your chance to get a little cheesy. Gift a cute decorative clock and a note that goes something along the lines of: “Time with you was well spent.”
Was that too corny, lame, tomato tomato tomato? Sorry. But jokes aside, a decorative clock is both cute and practical. Just nix the cheesy note and you’re good to go!
8. Desk Trinkets
If you’re coworker is transitioning to a different job that comes with a desk, this might be your best bet for a practical gift. It’s also another gift that you can make more personal to them.
It’s time for a little list within a list. Your coworker will appreciate these desk trinkets!
- Small picture frame
- Funko Pop or action figure of their favorite character
- Vase with a cute fake flower arrangement
- Sweet-smelling candle or travel diffuser
- Small lamp
- Tiny letterboard or chalkboard
- Matchbox cars
- Cute hand sanitizer pump
- Disney Tsum Tsums
- Spare change bank
- 3D puzzle
Bonus points if there’s an inside joke involved!
9. Gift Cards
We know, we know. A bit basic, right? But before you scroll to the next item, hear us out.
Gift cards can be so personal because you must know where your coworker would like to spend one!
Give a gift card to their favorite lunch or coffee spot. Are they always, always shopping at Old Navy? There’s your gift card idea! Maybe they’re an avid reader and you’re afraid of getting a book they’ve already read. You can get a bookstore gift card instead!
The more specific the better here. Sure, an Amazon gift card is not personal—unless it’s for your coworker is singlehandedly keeping them in business ordering items for their favorite organizational hacks. A Target gift card is not personal—unless your coworker heads out at the end of each day saying they’re grabbing a Target drive-up order on the way home. A Dunkin gift card is not personal—unless your coworker spends every free minute trying to convince people to drink that coffee instead of Starbucks.
With a little thought, a gift card can make a very personal gift while still giving room to let your coworker get something they will love.
10. The Perfect Gift May Not Be on This List
Only you know your coworkers! You know how they work best, what they appreciate, and what farewell gifts for coworkers are actually practical for them. So, like we’ve been saying: Make it personal!
For the coworker who is a gamer: Have everyone on the team pitch in a few bucks that can go toward the next console or video game they’re hoping to get their hands on.
For the coworker who bakes: Find a cute set of spatulas, whisks, measuring cups, and other baking tools. They’ll appreciate the extras!
For the coworker who collects (anything from action figures to nail polish): Get a nice display shelf or case to kick their hobby up a notch!
For the coworker who is obsessed with puzzles: Order a custom puzzle of your team, or them and their dog, or their desktop screen—even if it’s messy.
For the coworker who’s a techie: Find a nice zipper case for chargers and other random cords.
For the coworker who plays guitar: Gift a nice set of guitar picks, new strings, or a music stand.
For the coworker who’s into interior decorating: Search for some handmade candles, some small baskets, or some pretty string lights.
For the coworker who sews: Get a travel sewing kit or some embroidery thread.
For the coworker who’s a movie junkie: Find a sampling of different popcorn flavors they can eat during their next Alfred Hitchcock marathon.
For the coworker who is obsessed with their kids: Gift a digital photo frame they can upload their favorite family pictures to.
And there you have it! You’re now perfectly prepared to choose the best going away gift for a coworker.
We sincerely wish you the best of luck in wishing your coworker or employee the best of luck. When it comes down to it, a job is a job—but the connections formed and the relationships built are what’s most important. The fact that you’re reading this right now shows that you really do care to show your coworker or employee that you are glad to have worked with them.
And in the age of the Great Resignation, we can all do well to show those in the workforce our utmost appreciation. Making sure everyone has a great team t-shirt or practical farewell gift is just part of that.
Speaking of t-shirts, don’t forget to check out our stunning customizations and quality shirts for your team. (Just trying to look out for ya.) We’re always happy to answer any questions and match you with the right shirts for your team!