It’s common for remote employees to feel forgotten and even unappreciated, especially if they rarely have interactions with their employer.
Whereas many people do enjoy working remotely, trying to balance work and life when you spend most of your time at home is more difficult and can lead to burnout. It’s important to show employees that you understand the challenges they face and that you recognize the hard work they do.
However, simply sending the occasional thank-you email may not count for much.
With an in-person team, you can hold office parties and organize fun team-building trips. With virtual employees, though, this is not often a possibility — but gifts are.
In fact, one survey found that almost half of employees believe gifts are a reflection of their value to their companies.
We’ve come up with a number of ideas for remote employee appreciation gifts to suit any budget. On this list, there’s certainly something you can afford and that your employees will appreciate.
Gift Ideas Under $200
If you have a large amount in your budget for remote employee gifts, you may be able to spend up to $200 per person. This will allow you to purchase some of the most desirable gifts.
1. A Smartwatch
You can find budget smartwatches for between about $100 and $200 — anything that costs less than this is likely not worth buying. One example is the Fitbit Versa 2.
The great thing about a smartwatch is it encourages employees to live healthier lifestyles, as it comes with features like a heart rate monitor, sleep tracking, and music for listening to while working out. Plus, employees are able to receive calls, texts, calendar, and app notifications wherever they are.
2. A Drone
Employees with families will love having a drone. Although beginner drones can cost less than $100, you’ll find models with much better cameras and that can reach higher speeds if you look closer to $200. This could be worthwhile if you want to give a small team of employees a particularly nice gift.
3. Career-Advancement Training
When employees learn new skills, both they and your business reap the benefits. Career advancement training can lead to higher-quality work and greater productivity, but it can also prepare employees for promotions in the future.
Udemy is a great choice for training, as employees can choose from a wide range of courses in categories like business, marketing, design, and even personal development. All the courses are under $200 (the maximum is $199.99 and the minimum just $19.99), but you can also pay for a business subscription for $360. A subscription will give you access to more than 6,000 courses for between five and 20 users.
Gift Ideas Under $100
If you’re looking to spend a little less, you can find some great remote employee appreciation gifts for under $100.
4. Office Equipment
Employees need to purchase all their own office equipment when they work remotely. Cheap desk chairs or, worse, sitting on the couch all day can lead to health issues that lower productivity and make employees miserable.
One idea for gifts is to create a catalog of office equipment your employees may like and ask them to choose one. You could include things like an ergonomic chair, a foot cushion, a laptop stand to allow employees to stand while working, and a shiatsu massager.
5. Exercise Equipment
Alternatively, encourage employees to move around more while at home by sending them some exercise equipment of their choice. Top ideas to offer employees include fitness balls, dumbbells, yoga mats, and exercise bands. You could even pay for a subscription to some virtual workout classes for your employees to take together as a team.
6. Stress-Reduction Care Package
Help remote employees deal with some of that inevitable stress by sending them a care package packed with items that will help them relax. Add things like a scented candle, a stress ball, bath salts, and some healthy snacks. You may also like to include a subscription to something like the Headspace app.
Wireless earbuds are great for everything from virtual meetings to jogging in the park. This is a gift that everyone on your remote team can benefit from. Earbuds come in a range of prices, meaning you can definitely find something within your budget. Nonetheless, it’s best to choose something midrange, like these, as employees won’t be so appreciative if the sound quality is poor.
8. Cocktail Kit
Bring happy hour to your employees’ homes by providing everyone with a cocktail kit. You could even all prepare the drinks over Zoom on Friday afternoons to enjoy them together. Best of all is to give employees everything they need through a kit that’s specifically designed to be a gift, such as this set, which creates four different drinks — or enough for several weeks of happy hour.
Gift Ideas Under $30
If you have a limited budget or a large team, don’t worry. There are some great ideas for remote employee recognition gifts under $30.
9. Coffee or Tea
When employees come into the office, they often enjoy unlimited coffee and tea. It’s possible to provide this perk to your remote employees by sending them a hamper containing some quality whole bean or ground coffee or a selection of teas.
You may also like to include some accessories to prepare the drinks. Just remember to ask employees about their preferences beforehand.
10. Virtual Events
If you haven’t already invited your team to a virtual event, you’re missing out. There is a huge number to choose from, although the widest range available is likely Airbnb’s online experiences. The vast majority are under $30 per person (and there are often discounts for large groups).
You should be able to find something that matches your team’s interests, whether that’s a quiz, an interactive cooking demonstration, wine tasting, or a cultural experience.
11. Face Masks
Show employees that you care about their health and provide them with something they’ll use all the time with a face mask. Since sending everyone the same branded mask will come across as a cheap gift, go the extra mile by personalizing masks for each employee. This is easy to do when you use a custom face mask design service.
12. Gift Cards
Employees are far more likely to use a gift (as opposed to regifting it or throwing it out) if it’s personalized. However, this can be difficult if you have a large team — it may take you a long time to come up with virtual employee appreciation ideas that suit everyone. In these cases, a gift card may be your best option.
Although everyone is likely to find something they like through Amazon, it may feel more personal if you think outside the box. For instance, you could buy gift cards for a local business, like a restaurant, spa, or flower delivery service. You could even offer a choice of two or three different gift cards to allow employees to choose whichever they like the most.
13. Encourage Employees to Use Their PTO
Nothing is more valuable than time, but many employees fail to use their paid time off each year. Send out a company-wide email encouraging everyone to take a well-deserved break, even if that means taking a staycation.
For a gift that will keep on giving, permanently take some pressure off your remote team. With a virtual assistant from MYVA360, your employees can delegate all the monotonous activities they lack the time to complete themselves, such as lead generation, social media updates, website maintenance, and general admin tasks. Schedule a consultation to find out more and to receive a 10-percent discount.