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My company hosted a nice holiday party that I would have liked to, but was unable to attend due to conflicts. I RSVP'd that I would not attend. The party has already taken place. From others accounts it was very nice: nice hotel, catering, open bar, Uber credit, etc..

They just sent out an email for remote employees in other parts of the country who were not able to attend because of the time and expense of travel to respond and receive a gift in lieu of the party. The email was sent to everyone as far as I know

I am not remote in a geographic sense, although I do work in another office and never go to the headquarters, and could have attended the party if not for prior commitments. I have not been at this company very long and I don't want to make a bad impression (I hardly ever interact with them, all interaction is through the client). Would it be bad form for me to reply to the email and explain the situation or because it is for remote employees should I drop it?

  • Was the email sent to everyone or just specifically to the remote employees (and presumably not you)? – dwizum Dec 19 '19 at 18:27
  • The email was sent to everyone as far as I know – L.T.Smash Dec 19 '19 at 18:29
  • Unless the gift has significant or ongoing value I would be inclined to drop it. It sounds like the intent and spirit of the policy for remote employees (even if the actual wording doesn't support it) is that if they can't attend due to distance from the office etc there is an alternative available. I guess there are others in your position (or a similar one) who could have attended but had conflicts as well, and they are based at the HQ? Do you think they should ask for the alternative gift? (hint:... I don't think they should.) – seventyeightist Dec 19 '19 at 19:33
  • From what I heard about the party I believe that it might have a significant value. I know 'drop it' is the right answer but like Bee said in the answer I am feeling greedy and I wanted a push in the right direction – L.T.Smash Dec 19 '19 at 20:47
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    Could you just ask your supervisor if the remote gift applies to all employees outside of HQ? It seems better to me to bring it up one-on-one instead of replying to an email where your tone and mood can easily be misread. – saritonin Dec 19 '19 at 22:00
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Depending on the "value" of the gift I'm leaning towards "just drop it" because it may come across as a little greedy.

Imagine friend A giving friend B a gift and you saying "Can I have one too?"

Ultimately, you chose not to go to the party because you had a prior commitment rather than being physically unable to attend due to a situation of your employment.

Unless the prior engagement was a company meeting etc., I'd just drop it.

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  • I've actually seen this situation occur in my own work life, and remote folks generally felt like it was unfair if the on-site folks got a party and the option to be treated remote. I think it's helpful to ask yourself how you'd feel if the company flew in and housed a bunch of remote folks to attend a party, and covered all their expenses. – Martin Dec 21 '19 at 17:34
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Some perks at work have a definite, predictable, repeatable financial value and should be considered part of your overall compensation package. These are typically written into your contract. Not getting them when you should is something you should of course address.

Others are ad-hoc, right-place-right-time type deals. Sometimes you get them, other times you miss out on them.

This situation is firmly in the latter category - as a rule of thumb all social events and gifts are.

You were invited to the party, but were unable to attend due to conflicts. The fully remote workers weren't and so received a gift instead.

Nothing unfair has happened here, and implying it has absolutely will create a bad impression. There is no upside to doing so. You missed this one, but there will be other parties in future. Just drop it and move on.

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  • I did not mean to imply that anything unfair had happened. – L.T.Smash Dec 20 '19 at 13:42
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    @L.T.Smash Fair enough, but that's what they'll infer for sure by you asking for another perk that others get instead of the one you missed - i.e. you think it's unfair you don't get anything. But it is fair, because you did get the party invite :-) On a side note - I love the username! – davnicwil Dec 20 '19 at 14:28
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I don't think I would ask If you qualify, ask if it was specifically just for remote workers or everyone who couldn't attend the party. I know at some companies I've worked for there was a small gift given at the party and a slightly nicer gift given to remote workers, people who couldn't attend but were local still received the normal gift. I've also seen companies fly in remote workers to attend company parties, while head-office employees had to drive 3 hours out of town to the resort hotel the party was held at,(the room was covered for two nights so that people treated it like a company assisted vacation, where driving to the hotel was not covered, but people still wanted to go.) so it entirely depends on the culture of your company.

They don't even need to invite everyone to the party if they don't want to, I've worked for companies that only did company parties for employees that have been with the company for a certain number of years, I've heard of companies that don't invite entire segments of their business because they aren't as "valued" by upper management.

Maybe reach out with something like, "Hey, This gift is just for remote employees right? Head office employees that couldn't attend are not included because they got an invite, correct?"
That way you don't sound greedy, and it gives you the plausible deniability of saying that one of your co-workers had asked you in some water-cooler chat if you were going to receive the gift even though you received the invite and you just wanted to clarify that you weren't.

They might not have even thought about people who rsvp'd No and the simple question causes them to decide to include them.

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