While we hope you’ve been showing appreciation to your remote teams throughout the year, we’ve reached the season where gifts can be a capstone token of appreciation for your employees’ contributions through what has assuredly been a difficult year.
Our team has pulled together a robust list of gift ideas that are specifically for professionals who work from home or as a part of distributed teams. We’ve focused on physical gifts as well as virtual presents for teams. Since we’re a small business ourselves, we aimed to include fellow small businesses throughout our suggestions.
Physical Gifts that Require Shipping
Image source: Leon and George, Canva, Deskboard Buddy, SAMA Tea, Frères Branchiaux, Tsedal Neeley
Because so many professionals continued to be physically disconnected from friends, family, and co-workers this year, it can be especially meaningful for employees to receive a physical token of appreciation. Note: many of these physical gift options are optimized for, or only available in, the US. If we know of international alternatives, we’ve included those as well.
“Work from Home” office upgrades
- Desk organizer is great for documenting your notes without the additional paper clutter. Our team members recommend either the Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Desktop Computer Pads or DeskBoard Buddy™ Desktop Whiteboard.
- Upgrade your Zoom calls with a ring light. (Plus, good lighting is backed by science.)
- Add a little life to their home office. Consider a plant. Our team members have used and would recommend both The Sill (US only) and Leon and George (delivering to the US and France).
- Candles can serve as a ritual to brighten up the workday. Our team has recently fallen in love with family-owned Frères Branchiaux, where “10% of proceeds are donated to local organizations who assist people transitioning from homelessness.”
- Coffee warmer. This is our CMO, Jacqueline Zeller’s, favorite office must-have. Model she has here. Although this “Work from Home Commuter” mug also makes us giggle.
- While many of our team members have standing desks, this may not be a price point option. However, we can recommend some converting options like this one from VIVO on Amazon and multiple options from HumbleWorks that ship worldwide but free to the UK and Europe.
- Throwback to the handwritten daily planner or journal, such as these vegan leather options from The Journal Shop, for those Friday Reflections.
- Beautiful door hangers to establish those boundaries at home and remind your family members that you’re working.
- Cozy socks have become a work from home comfort staple. We recommend the Cloud Sock from Brother Vellies as one of the coziest and this Taco set from Happy Socks as one of the most joyful (plus, it ties to our Workplaceless daily Hey Taco ritual.)
Staying healthy while working remotely
- Inspire team members to get outdoors with an Annual National Parks Pass and some supplies to make it happen from Parks Project.
- Regular hydration is critical! Here’s a favorite sustainable water bottle option from Yomious or customize some with your company logo via Vistaprint.
- Sometimes it’s helpful to have the extra nudge and reminder to get up from our desks. Outfitting your team with Fitbit Trackers or smartwatches can also inspire some future team motivation or competitions.
- Two of our team members have doorway pull up bars that allow them to squeeze in a quick workout in between Zoom meetings.
- Ergonomically correct posture unfortunately tends to deteriorate the more we sit at our desks. Our CEO, Tammy Bjelland, has been using the Comezy Posture Corrector to help course correct.
Tasty fuel for work or play days
- Packed with Purpose offers a wide-variety of treat-filled gift boxes that aim to create social impact.
- Remote Employee Snackbox from SnackNation. For every snack box sold, one meal is donated to Feeding America.
- The flavors of gourmet popcorn from Lammar and Marie’s like Key Lime and Snickerdoodle are beyond tasty.
- Refreshments from Hella Cocktail Co. make a great addition to a virtual holiday party or happy hour.
- The mug warmer mentioned above pairs nicely with an Atlas Coffee Club subscription or a SAMA Tea Club Membership.
Books that support remote teams
Many members of our team are inspired by books and opportunities to learn (our CEO, Tammy Bjelland, committed to and accomplished reading over 100 books in 2020). Here are a few books that we recommend. (*These could also serve as virtual gifts as most are available in eReader and audio editions as well.)
Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere by Tsedal Neeley
Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance by Erica Dhawan
- The Bounceability Factor by Cait Donovan. Cait was one of our top rated Networkplaceless guest speakers, during a 2020 conversation about burnout.
- The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. This was a Workplaceless team gift and was the inspiration for our Networkplaceless event, Creating Virtual Celebrations with Purpose.
- The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer. We’ve referenced this book many times within our work.
- Originals by Adam Grant. Another Workplaceless favorite.
Hard to find something that works for everyone?
- Snappy Gifts is an excellent option. Employees choose their own gift, and Snappy Gifts ships anywhere. This is an especially helpful option for larger teams.
- Tight budgets mean creative solutions, but that’s not the only reason to consider something extra personal. A hand-written note goes a long way to demonstrate how much a team member means to you, your team, and your business. Our CMO, Jacqueline, shared that both she and her husband have hand-written notes tacked up in their offices. These could easily accompany some of the virtual gifts below.
Image source: Tech Crunch, Workplaceless, Kiva
With team members distributed across the globe, physical gifts may not make the most sense. Here’s our round-up of virtual gifts that can be received and used almost anywhere.
At-home wellness + channels to relieve stress. We all need it.
- Our Senior Customer Experience Specialist, Megan Eddinger, loves meditations and stress-reducing rituals from Simple Habit due to their abundance of options that work for her whole family.
- Calm also offers a year of mental health support for your team members.
- Avenues of escape, such as Netflix or Disney+ subscriptions, or even an actual virtual escape room challenge can be incredibly valuable.
- In keeping with the theme of staying healthy while working remotely, a virtual gym or fitness membership can help to establish healthy routines. Our team recommends both Obé Fitness or Peloton Digital.
New Skills for the New Year
- Our hearts reside in this space with our own Growplaceless Remote Career Development program.
It takes a [virtual] village
- A work-from-home virtual support community from Caveday. Multiple Workplaceless members are avid “cave dwellers” who feel their most productive when joining this community.
- We know many professionals currently working from home are simultaneously still parenting and supporting remote learning for their children. Consider gifting hours of a personal assistant from Task Bullet or My BTLR. (Note: we have not personally worked with these organizations.)
Work Local. Shop Local.
- While this might take a bit more upfront legwork, team members are often extra appreciative when you also support their local community. Just because your company doesn’t have a central physical HQ, doesn’t mean you can’t support the community of your professionals via gift cards.
- Oakstone Pizza in Winchester, VA, USA
- Spavia Day Spa in Morristown, NJ, USA. Other local areas.
- The Roasterie in Kansas City, KS, USA. Also ships coffee and merchandise nationally for free.
- USA Today has pulled together a searchable directory of small businesses by zip code. Some our team’s favorite local spots to give you gift card inspiration:
- As we’ve been working to promote diverse, and specifically Black, professionals in remote work, we thought it would only make sense to extend that support to other business areas as well. Some of the links we’ve included throughout deliver on that goal and Bon Appetit has also pulled together a list of black owned restaurants by location.
Gifts that Give Back
- Donations to causes that team members care about can go a long way to show that you care about them. Organizations that our Workplaceless team cares about:
- Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians a workforce development non-profit that promotes inclusive economic growth through immigrant integration.
- All Square, a nonprofit social enterprise centered on a craft grilled cheese restaurant and professional development institute that invests in the minds and lives of formerly incarcerated individuals.
- Color of Change which “helps people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us.”
- Give a gift that perpetuates more giving and “changes lives around the world.” Kiva is an organization that utilizes crowdfunding loans to create economic and social good. A Kiva gift card isn’t a donation but rather gives your employee the “chance to make a loan to a borrower who inspires them. When that loan is repaid, they can lend those funds again and again to make an even bigger difference.”
The gift of time
- Give your team a bonus day off! Our Learning Experience Lead, Katie Scheuer, was always grateful when her team at Bucknell University recognized the value of time as a gift, or even a more efficient “shopping day.”
We hope some of these ideas inspire you to truly find the perfect gifts (or gifts) that fit the needs of your remote teams.
If you have more remote team gift ideas, please share them with us on LinkedIn!