How Much Are Employees Spending on Workplace Collections?

How Much Are Employees Spending on Workplace Collections?

Read Time: 6 Minutes


01 Aug 2023

In today's modern workplace, purposeful collections and celebrations play a vital role in fostering genuine connections among employees. These initiatives have the potential to positively impact employee engagement and team dynamics, nurturing a more cohesive and resilient workforce. 

However, it's essential to navigate these practices with care, as they can also inadvertently create a hostile work environment. Determining the appropriate donation amount, identifying suitable reasons for collections, and establishing the right organisers are all crucial considerations that come into play.

To delve deeper into the intricacies of workplace collections and celebrations, we surveyed 1,000 UK office workers to gain valuable insights on employee opinions and the benefits and potential challenges of workplace celebrations.


Are Employees Taking Part?

While workplace collections and celebrations may appear to be age-old traditions, it is evident that not everyone actively participates in them in modern times. We asked our survey respondents if their workplace carries out collections for celebrations and or milestones.

• 53% said yes
• 31% said no
• 9% shared ‘other’
• 8% were not sure

We then asked employees specifically if they participate and contribute to collections for workplace celebrations themselves.

• Yes, some - 53%
• Yes, all - 22%
• No, none - 12%
• I’ll buy them something personally - 3%
• Other - 9%


Do Employees Feel Obligated?

We asked our respondents if they feel obliged to participate and contribute to collections and celebrations in their workplace. Almost a third of respondents shared that they feel obliged to participate and contribute because other people are and over half shared that they participate in what they want when they want and 9% simply don’t participate at all.


What Are Office Workers Spending On Each Other?

We surveyed our respondents to find out on average how much they contribute to a collection at work.

• £3 - £5 - 34%
• £6 - £10 - 29%
• I don’t participate - 19%
• £0 - £2 - 9%
• £11 - £15 - 4%
• £15 - £20 - 3%
• £20+ - 3%

Over a third of respondents spend a rather satisfactory £3 - £5. Nearly a third spend an admirable £6 - £10 and almost 1 in 5 don’t participate at all.

Around 1 in 10 spend a mere £0 - £2. 7% spend within £11 - £20 and a tiny 3% spend more than £20.

Cost Of Living Impacting On Workplace Collections?

After asking respondents how much they spend on each other at work, we surveyed them to find out if their spending habits have changed over the last few years.

Almost half of the respondents share that they pretty much spend the same amount.

Interestingly, one in five spend less on collections than before. With the cost of living making us tighten our belts, workplace spending is probably an area that employees can afford to cut back on. A whopping one in 20 have decided to stop participating altogether. 

17% shared that they’ve never participated in collections and only 9% feel that they are spending more.

How Often Is Too Often?

In some workplaces, it seems like there's a collection for something or someone almost every week, while in others, it's not that common. We were curious to know how often our respondents take part in workplace collections.

Over two-fifths of respondents shared that they participate only a couple of times a year.

A quarter of respondents participate every few months.

A fifth of respondents don’t participate at all.

8% of respondents participate once a month.

4% of respondents participate a few times a month and only 1% of respondents claim to participate once a week.

How Employees Pay Their Way

We surveyed respondents to find out what their most favoured way of paying into collections was.

A traditional 52% of respondents prefer giving cash and 19% opt for a bank transfer, it seems that even with technology around us, a large proportion of us prefer standard transactional methods.

6% utilise platforms like Paypal and a small 3% choose to use an online collection tool.

We also asked our respondents who’s in charge of collections at their place of work.

55% shared that it’s usually anyone that wants to start one. 12% shared that it’s usually a line manager’s responsibility and 10% shared that they have a nominated employee who oversees them.

7% shared that it is their department managers or heads of departments, 3% revealed that it is their HR team or team experience’s responsibility and 1% rely on charity and event committees.

Earn More? You Better Pay More!

To shed light on the expectations and perceptions of responsibility within the workplace, we asked respondents whether managers, leaders, or more experienced and higher-paid team members should contribute more towards workplace collections for team members.

A whopping 27%, over a quarter, believe yes, they earn more so they should contribute more.

73%, however, agree that it is up to the person contributing how much they should contribute.

Some respondents sitting on the fencing shared ‘This is a tough one, on one hand, yes they could if they earn considerably more, but I guess it's their choice.’


If I Put In For You, You Should Put In For Me

We wanted to know if our survey respondents believe in reciprocation. We asked them, if they were to contribute to someone’s collection do they expect it to be reciprocated?

An admirable 46% shared that they don’t expect anyone to contribute back, as it’s a personal choice.

41% think they should but understand some people may not be able to or to the same value.

But an honest 12%, 1 in 8, believe that if they contribute to their collection, they should contribute back.


Work Besties Get Better Gifts

If you thought work was a popularity contest, you may be right. We asked our respondents if they'd be more inclined to contribute to a collection if it's for someone they like or are friends with.

60%, almost two-thirds of respondents stated that they would pay more if they knew them better or liked them whereas a smaller 24% shared that they would pay the same amount into all collections.

Some respondents shared that they ‘might have paid a little amount into the collection then bought a separate gift for a close coworker’ or ‘If I was close with them, I would participate in the team collection, and perhaps either get them something extra, or treat them to a drink or food at another time to celebrate’.


Not All Collections Are Equal

We asked our survey participants whose collections they would contribute to.

• 20% shared that they would only put in for their work friends.
• 20% shared that they would put in for anyone at their company.
• 19% would put in for someone in their immediate team.
• 17% would chip in for anyone in their department.
• 15% don’t participate.
• 4% would pay in for anyone in an adjoining team.

How Workers Want To See Their Money Spent

In our survey, we asked respondents about their thoughts on how collection money should be spent. 

Over 50% agreed that it should be used to buy the respondent a personal gift, which was closely followed by vouchers at 15%.

12% of employees are happy to see the recipient just receive the money and 11% revealed it should probably be a generic gift like chocolates, flowers or a bottle of wine.

At opposite ends of the spectrum, 4% believe that recipients should simply get a card whereas 3% believe they should receive an experience day, trip, booking or reservation.


Is It Ever Okay To Regift?

The concept of regifting entails giving a gift that was previously received from someone else and passing it on to another person. In our survey, we probed the attitudes and opinions of respondents regarding the practice of regifting at work and whether they deem it to be acceptable.

A cheeky 51% of respondents think regifting is okay when done subtly so no one finds out.

30% of respondents are sustainability advocates, sharing that they think regifting is great, there's less waste and it gets put to use.

A small 13% revealed that they think regifting is cheap, it shouldn't be allowed.

What Are Office Workers Coughing Up For?

We gave our respondents a list of popular milestones and celebrations and asked them to select the ones they’d be happy to contribute towards for a co-worker.

Coming in top spot was the age-old leaving present. On to pastures new, over 78% of respondents would put in for a leaving present.

This was closely followed by retirement at 75%, a wedding at 67% and illness or get well soon collections at 55%.

54% would be happy to contribute for a big birthday such as a 21st or 30th and 54% would also be happy to spare some money to celebrate the birth of an employee’s baby.

24% would be happy to chip in for charity or fundraisers and 22% for a regular birthday.

One in five would happily participate in a baby shower or pregnancy announcement collection and 19% for an adoption.

19% would put in for a bereavement and 15% for an engagement.

Lower down on the list, with only 12% of votes being work anniversaries and with 10% for workplace promotions, it seems that workers are less likely to celebrate workplace achievements over personal life milestones and celebrations.

Clocking under 10% of votes also included promotions, pet bereavements, wedding anniversaries, exams, driving tests, travelling and sabbaticals, divorce and a new pet.

Do you think managers should pay more into collections? Think regifting is a good idea? Let us know your thoughts on social media by using #instantprintuk!


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.