With the year-end approaching and the holiday season dazzling the world, there’s no better time to show appreciation for your remote employees.
Since they’re far from an office setting, it’s important to recognize and remind them that they’re an essential part of your team.
But what are the best remote employee appreciation gifts?
In this article, we’ll suggest the 18 best remote employee appreciation gifts ideal for year-round needs, but especially for the holidays. We’ll also tell you why remote employee appreciation gifts are important.
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- 18 Remote Employee Appreciation Gifts for the Holidays
- Why are Remote Employee Appreciation Gifts Important?
18 remote employee appreciation gifts for the holidays
Here are 18 remote employee appreciation gift ideas that your colleagues will love!
We’ve divided the gifts into categories so that you can pick the gift type (or types) you like.
1. Care packages
One can never go wrong with care packages, and your remote employees might just need them after all the work they’ve put in throughout the year!
Here are some awesome care package ideas:
A. Self care kit
Your remote employees meet deadlines, achieve milestones, and attend to clients while managing their personal lives all year long. And sometimes, they might even have sacrificed their personal time for work.
Send them a self care kit so they can take a breather and relax as the year comes to an end.
It sends out a message that you also value their time for themselves.
The self care kit can include:
- An adult coloring book.
- A weighted blanket.
- An essential oils diffuser.
- Some bath products, etc.
You can even toss in a gift card for a massage, wellness, or meditation session.
B. Family care packages
Holidays are all about families, and there’s no better way to appreciate a remote employee than showing gratitude for their family as well.
A family care package is a perfect gift to show that your company culture is all about work-life balance.
Here are some items and goodies you can include in the family care package :
- Board and card games.
- Picture frames.
- Holiday pajamas.
- Desserts or chocolates.
- Holiday decorations.
- And more.
You can always personalize these care packages. For example, the holiday pajamas can have your company logo or the employee’s last name, making them personalized gifts.
C. Pet care package
Pets are like family in most homes. And for some employees, their fur buddies might have been the only company during the toughest days of the lockdown.
That’s why sending a pet care package will definitely win some hearts.
Here are some of the things you can include in a pet care package:
- Cat or dog treats.
- Grooming supplies.
- Holiday-themed chew toys.
- Pet furniture, like scratching posts or dog beds.
- Pet costumes and accessories like bowties, collars, etc.
- Fish tank decorations.
- Hamster wheel.
- And more.
However, make sure you take a detailed note of your employees’ pets and their needs before designing this gift box.
D. Stress relief kit
Stress reduction kits contain items that help remote employees cope with anxiety or tension. Sending these thoughtful gift kits will show that you care about your employees’ overall well-being.
Here’s what you can include in a stress relief gift box or kit:
- Subscription to a meditation app.
- Aromatherapy oils.
- Stress balls.
- Healthy snacks.
- Self-help and motivational books.
You can buy the items and design your own packages or order pre-made kits from online stores.
2. Virtual gifts
A present doesn’t always have to come in a gift box.
You can go for virtual gifts too!
A. Employee appreciation day
Instead of appreciating your employees with one gift, you can organize an entire employee appreciation day.
It’ll be a grand thank you gesture for your entire organization.
But what should you do all day?
Here are some employee appreciation day ideas:
- Office Olympics (minute-to-win-it, typing speed race, etc.)
- Try a few virtual recognition ideas.
- Virtual employee and family meet.
- Virtual ‘bring your pet to work’ event.
- Virtual lunch meet.
- Award employee of the month.
- And more.
B. Virtual team building events
Virtual team building events are one of the best gifts since they allow team members to connect. It will increase interaction among your members and help newer remote employees feel part of the team.
Here are some team building event ideas:
- Theme-based trivia contests.
- Cocktail-making lessons.
- Online murder mysteries.
- Virtual holiday party.
These events will be a good chance for some healthy team bonding outside of work.
C. Virtual happy hour
Ask your colleagues to bring their choice of drink and play games, sing songs, or discuss anything outside of work during a virtual happy hour session.
To make it more fun, you can also send them a happy hour cocktail kit before the day of the virtual happy hour. This way, they can make their drinks for the party and discuss recipes with their coworkers.
Note: Do make sure to promote responsible drinking for a safe and fun work environment.
Some people unwind by watching a movie or a Netflix show, while others prefer a game night or karaoke sessions.
You can poll your employees on their favorite forms of entertainment and give them a few months of free subscription to the media platform of their choices, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.
If you wish to push them in the direction of self-improvement, you could choose to offer a free e-Learning subscription. This can open up a whole range of professional development courses for remote employees who may otherwise not have considered them. You can also invite some people to share what they’ve learned with other employees.
3. Performance rewards
Remote employee performance-related rewards can be the perfect employee gift for any day or season. Offering this employee reward around the holidays will just double the excitement, making it the ideal Christmas gift!
Here are some employee appreciation ideas for their hard work:
A. Public employee recognition
Everyone loves a bit of recognition now and then.
But it can be a great employee gift when they’re recognized in front of their colleagues. It’ll help boost employee morale and increase employee engagement.
Here are some virtual recognition ideas:
- A simple thank you during a Zoom meeting with the entire team
- A shout out on LinkedIn
- Work anniversary celebration to highlight career milestones
- And more
These are just some recognition ideas — there are thousands of other employee recognition gift ideas to appreciate your employees’ good work.
You can even design a yearly virtual employee recognition program at the end of each year and give awards. Public recognition will encourage more employees to show hard work and motivate them to carry on the good work.
B. Performance incentives
Performance incentives will consistently rank high on the list of remote employee appreciation gifts.
Moreover, if you time the gift right (around the year-end), you’ll have given the employee some extra holiday cheer to share with their family and friends!
This will be your way of showing staff appreciation for the best performances. And, in turn, you’ll be able to improve employee engagement and team loyalty.
C. Extra paid time-off
No matter how many PTOs (Paid Time Offs) your employees have, they will cherish every minute of the extra PTO. Everyone appreciates opportunities to spend time with loved ones, their pets, or just unwind by themselves.
4. Gifts for personal use
A gift that your remote employees can use regularly or at home can be a very thoughtful present.
Here are some ideas:
A houseplant is a great gift for a remote coworker because home is often their workspace.
They don’t go out so often because of the lack of daily commute to work, so you can bring the outdoors inside — add a bit of nature to the home office of your coworker by gifting them a houseplant.
You can give them succulents because they don’t require employees to have a green thumb.
You can also buy hyper-realistic fake plants so your employees don’t have to water them but can enjoy the decor.
B. Home fitness equipment
A remote employee or worker can often end up living a sedentary lifestyle. So a perfect gift would be compact home fitness equipment.
Here are some equipment gift ideas:
- Yoga or gym mat
- Fitness watch
- Resistance bands
- Jump rope
This’ll show your employees that your company cares about health and fitness. You can also design an employee wellness program that not only focuses on physical but mental health as well.
C. Gadgets and accessories
Remote employees will always appreciate work from home (remote work) technology or accessories. Whether it’s a printer-scanner, laptop charger, or a whole new laptop upgrade, it’ll come in handy throughout the year.
Most remote workers would love to receive:
- Screen protectors
- Power banks
- Cord organizers
- Extra-long charging cables
- Laptop bags
- Device sanitizers
- Bluetooth speakers
Or, you can give your employees a gift card to a tech device and accessories retailer so they can buy what they require.
D. Personalized gift
A personalized gift can hardly ever go wrong because they’re meant to be unique and show effort.
You can personalize standard corporate gifts with different themes like the company logo, pop culture, employee name, or New Year to make it special!
Here are some items you can personalize and gift your employees:
- Tote bags
- Coffee mugs
- Water bottles
- Travel accessories
- And more
5. Other gifts
Here is a quick mixed-bag of gift ideas that you may like to gift your remote employees:
A. Gift cards and vouchers
Gift cards, vouchers, or discounts are some of the best gift ideas for employees, especially during the holiday seasons when expenses are higher than usual for most.
Here are some thoughtful gift cards and vouchers:
- Grocery gift certificate to shop for holiday meals
- Gift card for Amazon shopping
- Hotel accommodation voucher
- Restaurant voucher
- And more
B. Team picture
It’s tough to click a team picture with remote employees or a virtual team. So it can be a fun gift idea to gather all of your employees for a team photo session.
A team photo is inexpensive yet sentimental as a corporate gift that everyone will love and enjoy in the coming years too.
How to capture photos of remote teams?
- Organize an in-person meetup if you all live in the same city
- Host a Zoom meeting for the team and take a screenshot
- Photoshop the entire team into a group shot
- Compile a collage
You can either send the digital photo via email, frame it for a personal touch, or get it printed on T-shirts for your remote employees.
C. Tea and coffee
Tea and coffee make great holiday gifts for remote employees.
They can make a cup whenever they need the extra bit of energy for a workday close to holidays or to enjoy a hot drink in cold winters.
To make it special, you can order high-quality leaves and grinds with new, exciting flavors – something exotic that employees may not pick with their monthly groceries. Pair it with a nice mug to complete the gift.
Then, host a virtual coffee or tea break to enjoy it with your team!
Now that you have a bunch of gift ideas for your employees, let’s see why you should send gifts to your team every year.
Why are employee appreciation gifts important?
Gifts can serve more purposes than just putting a smile on your employees’ faces.
They can help celebrate special occasions, acknowledge achievements, offer appreciation, show concern during tough times like the pandemic, etc.
And this is most important for remote employees since they often feel isolated and even unrecognized at times due to working from home.
So by sending staff appreciation gifts to virtual employees, you and your team:
- Build camaraderie
- Boost morale
- Cultivate gratitude
- Shape company culture
- And more
Clearly, corporate gifting can go a long way in building a positive and happy work environment that benefits both the company and your remote employees.
Employee appreciation gift ideas need quite a bit of research on gifting trends, your employees’ tastes, and more – often leaving you confused.
So these 18 gift ideas can be a great starting point.
However, the main idea behind an employee gift is to make your team members feel valued for their excellent work.
So do that by gifting your employees the right appreciation gifts this holiday season!
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.