I have a conundrum. I’m not very good at social stuff. But I know that buying a couple-of-dozen doughnuts it a nice gesture for a team. So, every few months, I used to pony up for a case of sweet treats. I’m not a manager, or team leader, or anything like that. I just know that an unhealthy amount of sugar is a nice way to bond with colleagues – and meet new people in the office.
And, much like buying a round in a pub, I’m aware of the loose social obligation created by me greedily eating the home-baked treats brought in by others.
But how do you do that when working from home?
The cost of doughnuts is pretty cheap – less than a quid each (unless you’re buying the really fancy ones). Call it about £1.50 per team mate.
Sending a single doughnut by post appears to be an untapped market – probably for good practical reasons!
Giving everyone £1.50 via PayPal feels a bit weird and impersonal.
Sending everyone a bag of sweets or box of chocolates involves collecting addresses (which not everyone will be comfortable giving out) and it can be hard to find something which is vegan, gluten free, suitable for diabetics, etc.
I asked my friends how to solve this problem – and this is what they suggested:
We did a version of Secret Santa where you bought lunch for another colleague. That was fun and could be done at anytime. I’ve also bought little biscuit baking kits where we did the decorating and eating together in a team meeting.— Nayeema Chowdhury (@NayeemaC) March 21, 2021
Pick one person you think particularly deserves a lift or appreciation and send them something.— Eliot Fineberg (@eliotfineberg) March 21, 2021
Send Toblerones? Should just need a label and a stamp.https://t.co/rzFcvxP1Hs— Simon Phipps (@webmink) March 21, 2021
I had a similar issue for our Christmas party. Went round the houses and eventually ended up having a PayPal whip round of SLT and sending e-vouchers to rest of team but unfortunately not in time for people to get things delivered for the party itself... But a nice Xmas present!— TraceyWilliamsAllred (@tewilliam) March 21, 2021
Deliveroo credit for drinks but smallest denomination is not that small.— Tom Duckering (@tomduckering) March 21, 2021
We’ve done stickers but I miss doughnuts.— Ben Smith (@bensmithuk) March 21, 2021
I sent £5 PayPal to each member of my team & told them to buy a tub of @HackneyGelato for a Friday afternoon ice cream bonanza. It went down very well.. then I promised to do it again and never got round to it, which I don’t think went down as well. The ice cream though, is tops!— ilicco (@ilicco) March 21, 2021
You can set up a business @deliveroo account, then you can order everybody something - you can set maximum spend and timeslots they can order in (I believe). You can order something to each person, or you can give them their own login to order whatever they like— Martin Thorne (@martinthorne) March 22, 2021
Be cautious with the assumption that people consider 'team doughnuts' to be universally a good thing.— Conor O'Neill 💙 (@tpuddle) March 21, 2021
I'm not exactly overweight but I try to avoid snacking between meals, and I find these 'treats' provided occasionally by my team to be unhelpful (and unhealthy).
I just hate doughnuts. and other cake-like things. But yes, when I was working in the UK there seemed to be a lot of free doughnuts, beer and other things I don't like— Linda 😷 Sandvik (@hyper_linda) March 22, 2021
I got a surprise book in the mail and it was the best and sweetest gesture. Def more than $1.50 but sparked my attention and felt genuine.— Julianna Rowsell (@JuliannaRowsell) March 21, 2021
Letterbox brownies!— Emma Parnell (@worddoodles_EP) March 21, 2021
Get a message for the team from a celebrity (via Cameo?) and then send it to all of them?https://t.co/NO1TVxtwKI— Andrew Fielding (@wobable) March 22, 2021
So, dearest blog reader – what are your thoughts?