16 Best Work From Home Gifts in 2020

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October 06, 2020

Hi! You found our list of great work from home gifts.

Work from home gifts are presents you can send to colleagues that work remotely. These gifts tend to be related to remote work like gadgets or desk ornaments, or are otherwise location independent such as gift cards and online subscriptions.

These gifts are perfect for virtual birthday parties and virtual holiday parties, and can be a fun way to quickly boost morale.

This list contains:

  • Gift ideas for remote employees
  • Gift ideas for remote colleagues
  • Gift ideas for remote bosses

And more! 🎁

Here come the ideas!

Gift ideas for remote employees

From virtual team building events to co-working memberships, here is a list of smart, practical, and fun gifts for your distributed employees.

1. Virtual team building experiences

One of the most meaningful gifts for remote workers is a virtual team building event that allows colleagues to connect with each other. Remote employees often report feeling isolated and disconnected. Online team building events can create a sense of community among a staff that otherwise interacts on a limited basis. These events are fun, social, and relaxing, and tend to teach useful skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collective decision making.

Remote team building experiences come in a variety of options, from online murder mysteries, to trivia, to cocktail making lessons or full-on virtual parties. You can check out our list of virtual team building ideas for more information.

2. Technology accessories

Some virtual offices provide work from home technology or office budgets as part of the work from home policy or employee benefits package. Regardless of whether your organization bankrolls laptops and printers or asks staff to supply these necessities, every employee could use a technology upgrade or a slick accessory from time to time.

Most remote workers would love to receive the kinds of gifts on the following list:

  • Wireless charging stations
  • Extra long charging cables
  • Chic laptop bags or cases
  • Screen protector
  • Noise-blocking headphones
  • Device sanitizer or cleaning kits
  • Cord organizers

Or, you could provide a stipend or gift card to a retailer like Incase, Apple, or Best Buy so that your remote staff can buy an accessory of choice.

3. Stress reduction kit

Though you may not be able to physically pop into your employees’ home offices to lend a sympathetic ear or deliver a pep talk, sending stress reduction kits is the next best thing. Stress reduction kits are care packages full of items that help remote employees unwind and cope with tension. Sending stress reduction kits can signal that you care about your dispersed employees’ wellbeing and peace of mind.

Items to include in a stress reduction kit:

  • Subscription to a meditation app like Calm or Headspace
  • Self-help and motivational books
  • Aromatherapy oils, especially lavender
  • Stress balls and fidget pens
  • Healthy snacks like nuts or pea crisps
  • Massagers
  • Candles
  • Tea

Either you can buy the contents in bulk and assemble your own packages, or you can order pre-made kits from sites like Etsy or Cratejoy.

Camaraderie can do wonders for easing pressure, so you can cap off your present with a virtual event such as a group meditation, team building yoga session, or a remote self-care social.

4. Exercise equipment

Without a commute or an office to stride through, telecommuters tend to get less exercise than the average worker. By sending your remote staff exercise equipment and accessories, you encourage your employees to adopt healthier habits.

Examples of exercise-related remote employee gifts:

  • Yoga mats and blocks
  • Inflatable ball
  • Handheld weights
  • Steel water bottle
  • Virtual exercise classes
  • Fitness trackers
  • Elastic bands
  • Hand grippers
  • Gift certificates to a sports apparel brand like Nike or Lululemon

When the package arrives, give your employee the opportunity to use the gift by scheduling a team building workout.

5. Stationery and desk supplies

While traditional offices stock up supply closets, virtual offices rarely provide pens, paper, and desk organizers. For this reason, stationery supplies make great remote employee gifts.

Here are suggestions of office supply gifts for work from home employees:

  • Pre-printed envelopes and address labels
  • Notepads, writing paper, and high quality printer paper
  • Sleek desk organizers
  • Lap desks
  • Post-it notes
  • Surge protectors
  • Highlighters and pens
  • Stamps

Depending on your staff’s tastes and the standards of your industry, you could select themed stationery with your company logo, personalized monograms, or a pop-culture theme of the employee’s preference.

Another unique idea is to hire a freelance designer to create a custom email signature, professional web page layout, or business cards, for each employee.

Best of all, these daily-use objects will constantly remind your employees of your thoughtfulness.

7. Coworking memberships

Your remote employees may not necessarily prefer to work from home. As the pandemic shutdown of 2020 revealed, noisy apartments and crowded shared homes often do not make optimal work environments.

Occasionally a remote employee may need to escape the house to find a quiet space to work. Cafes are prone to spotty WiFi, chatty patrons, and loud grinders, and might not be a reliable refuge. Instead of forcing your telecommuters to hunt for a quiet coffee shop or rent a hotel, you can gift your team member a coworking membership.

There are coworking spaces opening across the country, and you can rent your employee a spot from a local company or national provider to ensure your staff has a quiet place to focus. While some coworking spaces operate exclusively on monthly memberships, many providers also now offer per-day options, too.

Gift ideas for remote colleagues

From steamy beverages to subscription services, here is a list of gift tips sure to inspire gratitude in your virtual teammates.

7. Tea or coffee

tea vs coffee

If you and your teammates worked in an office, then you would probably treat your colleague to a coffee from time to time. Just because you and your teammates live miles apart, does not mean you cannot provide a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up.

Tea and coffee make great gifts for remote workers, especially since caffeine fuels the workday. To make the present extra special, order high end leaves and grinds or opt for interesting flavors such as cranberry tea or cookies and cream coffee. You could even throw in a fancy mug or a mug warmer. As the finishing touch, promise to meet your colleague for a virtual coffee break.

8. Desserts

There is no sweeter gesture than sending your remote colleague a sugary treat. While traditional offices enjoy communal cupcakes, homemade cookies, and candy jars, remote offices often skip out on dessert. You can send your virtual colleagues a sweet treat like a box of chocolates, cupcake in a jar, or a donut bouquet.

Ways to ship desserts:

  • Order through an online high-end bakery such as Milk Bar directly
  • Peruse a variety of pastry shops on Goldbelly
  • Scour for treats on Etsy
  • Whip up a batch of cookies or brownies from scratch
  • Coordinate a delivery or pickup from a hometown bakery
  • Send credit on a meal delivery service like GrubHub.

If you do opt to send a specific treat, then you can find out your remote coworker’s favorite dessert by asking strategic icebreaker questions in advance.

9. Subscription streaming services

Once upon a time, colleagues occasionally gave each other movie tickets or seats to a show. While some coworkers still enjoy a night out from time to time, most folks frequently opt to enjoy entertainment through streaming services. Watching a movie, theatre performance, or sporting event in the comfort of your own home is alluring, and sending a Netflix or Hulu credit via email is more convenient than nabbing event tickets and paying exorbitant ticket platform fees.

You can treat your virtual colleague to a few free months of a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go, or can pay for a premium upgrade on an existing service, for instance, paying for new movies on Disney+. Because you do not want to pay twice for a service, determining your colleagues’ existing plans through casual conversation is a good idea, and as easy as asking, “what shows have you been binging lately?”

10. Pet care package

Sending a pet care package simultaneously treats your teammate and your teammates’ Zoom-call-crashing dachshund or tabby. Because pets hold a special place in most homes and hearts, pampering a furry friend can win you major points with your teammates.

Items to include in a pet care package:

  • Cat treats or dog biscuits. Extra points for homemade artisan goodies!
  • Chew toys, fake mice, or balls
  • Holiday themed toys
  • Pet furniture, like scratching posts, dog beds, or tiny hammocks
  • Grooming supplies
  • Costumes and accessories like bowties, collars, and hats
  • Pet photo session or commissioned pet portrait

Puppies and kittens do not have to hog all the fun. If your coworker has a more unusual pet such as a chameleon or a goat, you can pick gifts like a tank decoration or a sweater.

The package can consist of one or two main items or a collection of smaller objects. You can buy products locally, or ship directly from a site like Amazon or Chewy. If you do not want to assemble the package from scratch, then you could always order a pre-made box from a site like BarkBox.

11. Flowers or houseplants

Your remote colleagues do not need to leave the house to go to work, and might not spend much time outside as a result. You can bring a little bit of nature into your teammates’ home offices by ordering flowers or houseplants. Plants perk up a workspace and add a pop of color to a desk or nearby windowsill. Whether the blooms last days, months, or years, plants are sure to bring cheer to your coworkers’ workspace.

You can order your colleague a bouquet, succulents, or houseplant subscription like Horti. If your virtual teammate lacks a green thumb, then you can buy a hyper realistic or artsy fake plant from Etsy instead.

Gift ideas for remote bosses

From team snapshots to virtual assistant services, here is a list of gift ideas for remote managers that are sure to show appreciation and good taste. These ideas can make for good Boss day gifts too.

12. Picture of the team

Remote employees are rarely in the same room together, so chances are, your leader does not own a picture of the whole team. The solution: gather for a team photo. Photos are an inexpensive yet sentimental gesture that allow bosses to more easily brag about the team and reminisce in years to come.

Ways to capture remote team photos:

  • Gather the team on a Zoom call and take a screenshot
  • Photoshop the crew into a group shot
  • Compile a collage
  • Coordinate an in-person meetup, if you all live in the same vicinity

If your leader has a good sense of humor, then you can opt for funny faces and silly poses, coordinate an activity like sitting on Santa’s lap or showing off pets, dress up as the cast of a favorite TV show or movie, or photoshop the group into an amusing situation like racing as characters in Mario Kart.

Placing the photo into a frame is a nice touch, and you can also transform the picture into a gift like a photo blanket or T-shirt.

13. Blog post

One impressive but inexpensive present idea for a virtual manager is to write a flattering blog post about the boss. This idea works especially well if you have an internal company blog, but you could just as easily publish on a brand new WordPress site or send the piece as a standalone document.

To write your post, get the team together and brainstorm all the reasons you love your leader. Here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What was a time your leader really helped you?
  • What qualities do you most appreciate about your leader?
  • What have you learned from your leader?
  • What do you want to thank your leader for?

This free remote gift idea is a great present for Boss’s Day, birthdays, or promotions. Be sure to give the whole team ample time to write a thoughtful response; at least two weeks is advisable.

14. Luggage or luggage tags

Leaders who work from home may still travel frequently. Travel accessories make great gifts for bosses constantly on the move. You and the rest of the team can pitch in to buy nice luggage such as a sturdy suitcase or designer duffel, or the group could purchase several smaller gifts such as personalized luggage tags, suitcase scales, travel locks, and document holders.

Or, if your boss is equal parts sentimental and practical, then you can give a scratch-off map of the US or the world so that the giftee can mark every destination visited.

15. Custom bobblehead

Did you know that you could order a custom made bobblehead in the spitting image of your boss? These baubles are not as cheap as your standard Staples impulse-buy, but you and the team can chip in to commission a mini-me for your manager. Custom bobbleheads are great gifts for remote bosses with a sense of humor and a sparsely-decorated desk. The present can even become a running joke if you send accessories like sombreros or baseball hats, holiday-themed doll clothes, and dancing hula girl companions throughout the year.

You can order custom boss bobbleheads from Modern Bobbleheads or bobbleheadsme.

16. Virtual assistant

While you may not be able to pay the salary for a virtual assistant to follow your boss forever, you can rent services for a few hours or a couple of days. This gift is an especially great fit for busy times of the year, such as the week of shareholder meetings or the close of the fiscal year. Also, if you work for a small remote business, then chances are likely your boss wears many hats and juggles many jobs. A virtual assistant can take tasks off your leader’s plate and free up a couple of hours.

You can hire freelance virtual assistants on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and FlexJobs.

Final Thoughts

Work from home gift exchanges may not be as simple as walking down the hallway to drop a box on a colleague’s desk or taking the whole team out to lunch, but the boost in team morale and camaraderie is definitely worth the effort. Sending presents to remote bosses, employees, and colleagues can show gratitude and strengthen the sense of community throughout a distanced workforce.

For more celebration ideas, check out our article on virtual team celebration ideas.

FAQ: Gifts for remote workers

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about gifts for remote workers.

What are remote employee gifts?

Remote employee gifts are presents you can send to your work from home teammates. Coworkers in offices commonly exchange treats around holidays or for special occasions, and swapping presents via mail can recreate this bonding experience. Gifts show your teammates that you care about them and can bring your crew closer together. Plus, everyone loves receiving packages, especially packages full of fun surprises. Work from home present exchanges can be a super effective morale booster, too.

What are the best gifts for remote workers?

Good virtual team gifts show thought and effort, are a mix of fun and practical, and fit the recipient’s tastes and needs. The best gifts for remote workers include virtual team building experiences, desserts, houseplants, and stress reduction kits.

What are inexpensive gifts for remote workers?

Work from home gifts do not need to be pricey to delight employees. There are many inexpensive presents you can send to your virtual coworkers such as tea or coffee, a customized blog post, or a picture of the team.

Why should I send gifts to my virtual teammates?

Presents serve many purposes: celebrating special occasions and achievements, showing appreciation and care for friends and colleagues, and adding a sense of delight to the day. By sending gifts to virtual teammates, you build camaraderie, boost morale, and grow gratitude throughout your remote team.

How can I make work from home gifts special?

Personalization is the best approach to making work from home gifts special. Adding a handwritten card is a nice touch, but if this approach is not an option you can always compose a unique message that references an inside joke or personal detail.

Customizing presents to your coworker’s preferences is another way to make gifts extra meaningful. For instance, you may send the team globetrotter a travel journal or your bourbon-loving coworker an initial-etched rocks glass. You could also assemble a remote employee care package with an assortment of your colleague’s favorite items.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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