A Somewhat Delicate Situation
Just as flowers are delicate, giving them to coworkers can be a very fragile thing. Give the wrong flower to the wrong person at the wrong time, and you might find yourself in front of HR for some sort of harassment. For one thing, the sort of flowers you give tends to be definitive of intent. Poinsettias aren’t romantic, roses are.
This site says you should never give roses to a coworker, but there are probably a handful of situations where that won’t get you in trouble. For example: right after they get engaged, and if you’re a friend who the coworker knows has no romantic inclinations.
A lady giving her best gal pal in the workplace some roses after an engagement likely won’t be taken the wrong way. Not unless you’ve got a pixie haircut and a tomboy personality; in that scenario, well, you’re in the same boat as a guy giving a lady roses for any reason. So you see, things are delicate, and in today’s world, they’re confusing as well.
In this writing, we’ll briefly explore five situations where you’ll be within social boundaries of appropriateness with the gift of flowers to a coworker. Certainly, these aren’t the only appropriate situations—just as there are endless flower varieties, there are endless appropriate and inappropriate situations to give flowers.
1. As An Onboarding Gift
A bouquet of flowers to a new employee from staff in management doesn’t usually send the wrong message. Especially if the job in question is one that tends to have “floral” tones. Hobby Lobby employees working in the office at the back of the store might appreciate such a gift. If you’re working as a nurse, or in an elementary school, the same is true.
If you’re a coworker and you give flowers to the newly hired employee who is adjacent to you in the office, just be sure there aren’t any romantic connotations right off the bat. Maybe put some sort of card in with the flowers that includes a joke which directly communicates how platonic the flowers are.
2. When They Get Promoted
Promotions and other celebrations represent fine opportunities for floral gifts. When a coworker climbs up a rung on the ladder, it’s worth making a bit of a big deal about—especially if they’re about to manage you specifically. Again, be sure the flowers you choose don’t give them the wrong idea; but this is an appropriate time for such gifts.
3. When They Are Experiencing Grief
If you have a coworker who has a friend, family member, or pet pass away, then somberly organized flower arrangements can be appropriate. In fact, if you gift flowers to a grieving coworker in a properly sympathetic way, this has a very high chance of increasing the positive aspects of your working relationship. They’ll know you’re someone they can turn to.
4. If They Get Engaged, Or They Return From The Honeymoon
When coworkers either get engaged or return from their time off with their new spouse, a bouquet is appropriate. Again, be sure you get a “neutral” bouquet with the right sort of flowers—but they’ve been getting bouquets for weeks prior, during, and after the wedding. So they’ll understand you mean nothing inappropriate, and will appreciate the gift for what it is.
5. During Holidays
CNBC gives these six guidelines to generalized gift-giving in the office: don’t opt out, do learn the rules, don’t overspend, do be fair, don’t be too personal, do be thoughtful. Unless flowers are expressly against the rules, a fine bouquet from a top provider covers all those bases, and especially around Christmas, represents a neutrally festive gift.
Assuring You’re Not Coming Across The Wrong Way
These days everybody’s tiptoeing around on eggshells. If you’re not careful, you will definitely impart the wrong message at the wrong time. In fact, just doing nothing can send the wrong message. Coworkers may think you’re shy, trying to keep from making a mistake, or something else. Imagination tends to be more of a curse than ambition in some ways.
At any rate, five scenarios where flowers tend to be appropriate in the office include holidays, to celebrate an engagement or return from a honeymoon, as an expression of sympathy during times of grief, to celebrate a promotion, or as an onboarding gift. Floral arrangements given at these times shouldn’t send the wrong message.