20 Best Gifts for Employee Appreciation in 2021

July 3rd, 7:56 pm

20 Best Gifts for Employee Appreciation in 2021

Showing appreciation to your employees is an understated act of employee recognition. It's a massive driver for motivation and boosting employee morale, with some studies even linking it to increased productivity and retention. One way to do that is by giving gifts for employee appreciation.

In this article, we've listed fun recognition gifts for employees that you can use to reference when doing so for your teams.

This list contains the following:

  • Virtual gifts for remote employees
  • Gifts for remote employees during covid
  • Thank you gift for remote employees
  • Staff appreciation gifts during covid

Let's get started

The Best Gifts for Remote Employees

1. Virtual Recognition Program

It's always a nice feeling when you get appreciated for your hard work. While a pat in the back is good, a little spotlight would not be so bad at all. Give your people a proud moment to share with their colleagues by doing virtual recognition programs. Recognition is an essential element in employee engagement. With distributed teams, remote workers often feel that they're not that much visible to their managers. Take out this notion by creating a deliberate and fun virtual recognition program.

2. Self-Care Kit

You know how your employees work hard to beat the deadlines you put them through. At times, they may even have to sacrifice their personal time for work. Sending out a self-care kit reminds them to take a breather and relax. It sends out a message that you also value the time they have for themselves. Here are some items that you can put in a self-care kit:

  • Essential Oils Diffuser
  • Bath Essentials
  • Weighted Blanket
  • Adult Coloring Book

3. Fitness Watch

It's not just about tracking your steps or heart rate, but it's a way for your employees to watch out for their health. Some even let them set goals, whether that's their desired hours of sleep in a day or planned exercises. To ensure that the watch will be put to good use, you can pair it up with a fitness activity or a fitness challenge with your teams.

4. Work from home equipment

If you've been working remotely for quite some time now, you know the massive difference between a regular chair and a table, one that is actually ergonomic and designed for work. So, to help your employees keep going at their work without worrying about body pains, why not provide them with home equipment like a good ergonomic chair and work table. This way, you're bringing the office to their homes without actually being in the office.

5. Performance Incentives

Gift for Employees

Gifts and discounts surely count, but performance incentives are always heavier on the scale. These may be part of your company's reward systems and are inherently performance-based. Incentives can either be given to individual employees who've reached more than expected at work or to teams who've gone beyond their targets. Companies use incentives to show their appreciation to their top employees and use it as engagement drivers to keep them staying in the organization.

6. Spa or Wellness Discount Vouchers

We're now past the days when employee gifts are all about pens and papers stamped all around with the company logo. If you want to give a gift to your employees, provide them with the gift of value. Wellness gifts show that you are not just giving out anything that you have on the table. You actually care about their well-being, and you provide them with opportunities to do that for themselves.

7. Coffee Box/Tea Box

If your employees miss the free coffee at work, why not send them some caffeine to wake them up. It can be a coffee set for their home brewing experience or coffee gift cards and e-vouchers on any popular coffee chain. If you're not into caffeine, a tea set will do. When everyone receives their packages, you can have your literal virtual coffee break for your happy hour.

Check out Tasting Experiences with Kits.

8. Streaming Subscription

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or HBO Max have been on the rise since most people's downtimes are spent binge-watching shows readily available on these platforms. Some of these services even offer gift cards if you want to give these subscriptions as gifts. Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV let you buy a gift card, and Disney+ has their gift subscription. You can gift them with a one-month subscription, then it'd be up to them if they'd like to continue with the next month.

9. Tech Box

This gift screams so much about you as an employer; you're cool, you're hip, you're modern, and you're willing to go all the way for your people. A statement that you can cut across your current hive and all the way to potential ones who will join you in the future. Here are some of the items you can give:

  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Power bank
  • Wireless earbuds
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Charging Pad
  • Tech Bag (where they put all these items)

10. Grocery Gift Certificates/Vouchers

Gift for Employees

Here's one popular employee gift on the holidays, especially Christmas and New Year grocery purchases. Your employees can plan their holiday meals and save money on their purchase. Plus, they get to share whatever they can buy with this gift with their families or loved ones. Of course, you can give these anytime, though, not just on certain times of the year..

11. Employee Appreciation Week

One day isn't enough to thank your people for doing the groundwork for your organization. A week doesn't even measure up, but it will do. Every year, choose a week where you get to organize activities mainly to show your employees how much you appreciate them being with you and working with you every single workday. Here are some ideas:

12. Hotel Accommodation Vouchers/Discounts

Give your employees the gift of time and relaxation with hotel accommodation vouchers. They'll truly appreciate the value of what you're giving, which is quality personal time. Or you can also partner with hotels and resorts to provide your employees with some worth-grabbing discounts on bookings. Some hotels proactively offer this to companies as they hope for potential and consistent bookings in return.

13. Virtual Concerts

Gift for Employees

In today's times when most of us are missing the live shows and the good old crowd eagerly squeezing themselves in front of the performing stage, a virtual concert is like a hug. You can make that experience happen to your employees, wherever they are. It's much better because they don't need to buy a ticket for the front row seat. Everyone gets the same premium view for free!

Check out some entertaining and fun Talent Shows.

14. Free e-Learning program subscription

This may not be your typical gift card or tech box, but one of the best things that you can give your employees is the gift of education. You can give them a free e-Learning subscription to access thousands of learning courses on popular platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, SkillShare, LinkedIn, and many others. What's best is the long-term benefit that your employees can get with the courses they choose to complete.

15. Appreciation emails to your team

Company gifts are nice-to-haves, and incentives bring joy to our pockets, but there's nothing like the good old appreciative words a lead can tell their team. These words of gratitude are inexpensive and straightforward, but they require honesty and genuineness. Saying things like "Good job.", "Thank you for all that you do." or "You've been so helpful" goes a long way in making someone feel appreciated and recognized.

16. Healthy Snack Box/Bundle

Nothing beats healthy food to supercharge your people throughout a busy day of work. Not everyone will love the same food equally; some crave sweets while keeping their meal spicy or salty. When you can't customize for everyone, a snack box is an excellent way to go as it contains a mix of everything. It's the perfect side to your water cooler moment. Here are some healthy snack box suggestions to start:

  • Vegancuts: perfect for those in a plant-based diet and contains at least 10 vegan snacks in a month.
  • Snacksack: contains 11-15 snacks in a monthly subscription and has three options: classic snack sack, gluten-free snack, and vegan snack
  • Love With Food: has a curated selection of healthy snacks that has to pass through their 73 banned ingredients list.

17. Additional Paid time-Off

Paid time off (PTO) has long been part of a company's compensation package. Some are generous with PTOs, while some are conservative, depending on the organization's compensation and rewards policies. One thing is for sure, though if you're an employee, every minute in your PTO counts. Every time-off is an opportunity to spend more time with family, loved ones, or even oneself. If you want to reward your employees after accomplishing an arduous task or completing a challenging project even with strict timelines, adding PTO credit might also be a good idea. You might be giving your employees a break and a time to come back to work refreshed.

18. Blue Light/Anti-Radiation Glasses

Aside from our bodies, our eyes do a lot of work when working. Especially if you're working remotely, there will be a lot of screen time in a day. Even when you go off work, you might still add up on that screen time by moving your attention from the computer screen to your phone. When our eyes are tired, it can be a massive distraction from work and ultimately to productivity. Blue light glasses help reduce the eye strain from too much screen fatigue. Coupling this with a few reminders on taking short breaks from work can make a difference.

19. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Gift for Employees

A lot of the time, we talk about the recognition from a top to bottom perspective. Our mental image of it is a superior recognizing the hard work of their subordinates. There is another type of recognition that deserves its own limelight: peer-to-peer recognition. It's no secret that you spend most of your time at work with your peers rather than with your boss. It's actually your coworkers who see your efforts firsthand and relate with you the most. So, gaining acknowledgement and admiration from your peers also places a significant influence on you.

You may include this in your recognition program and pair it with platforms like Workday, HeyTaco in Slack, Microsoft. Once these systems are in place, build a culture where peers are open to voicing their appreciation to another, a culture of recognition, morale, and respect for other people's talents and abilities.

20. Home Exercise Equipment

Give your employees a head start in leading an active lifestyle by gifting them with home exercise equipment that is compact but good quality. You don’t need to deliver treadmills and or gym equipment on their doorsteps, just something to get them moving little by little each day. Here are some suggestions:

  • Yoga set (yoga mat, blocks, towels) + awesome facilitated classes
  • Resistance and Exercise Bands
  • Weighted Jump Rope
  • 5-15 pound kettlebell
  • Sliders

In Summary

When it comes to showing your appreciation, there is no such thing as too little or too small when it's genuine and deserved. After all, making someone feel valued and appreciated goes a long way in forging good relationships in a desirable workplace.

FAQs

How do you show appreciation to your employees?

There are many ways to show your appreciation to your employees, whether that's for doing a great job, going the extra mile, or even for staying with you for a couple of years. In fact, no occasion is necessary when it comes to appreciating your people. Here are some ways:
  • Say thank you
  • Praise them for a job well done
  • Recognize them formally and casually
  • Learn about them. Know their interests
  • Surprise them with treats or gifts every once in a while

What are good inexpensive gifts for coworkers?

Here are inexpensive gifts that you can give to coworkers as a way of appreciating how much they've shared quality work-life time with you:
  • Food Delivery: for that one time, your coworker stayed up late to help you with your report.
  • Funny Notepad: for a good laugh and something your teammates will remember you by.
  • House Plants: for a good stress reliever and to lighten up their remote workspace.
  • Memory foam cushion or pillow: for those long hours of sit-down work.
  • Stress Ball or Fidget Spinner: for those times you know your coworker is going through a tough time

How do you appreciate remote employees?

Showing your appreciation to your remote employees is generally the same if they had been working on site. In remote work, though, it might take much of your effort since engagements are mostly intentional. Here are some ways you can show your remote employees how much you appreciate them:
  • Say thank you (either through a handwritten card, via email, or through a chat)
  • Conduct virtual recognitions
  • Send them gifts like work from home essentials, care packages, gift cards
  • Give them the gift of time (ex. Paid time-off or no-meetings day

What are good employee appreciation gifts?

Employee appreciation gifts can range from monetary rewards to tangible items to a simple appreciation message. It depends on the value that you want the gift to take form beyond its physical package. For instance, a grocery gift card may be what it is but what it actually says is you are taking the time to make sure that your employees can buy their daily essentials. The same goes with self-care kits, fitness equipment, or wellness vouchers. All of these show that you value the health and well-being of your employees, and you want to help them maintain that.

How do you celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with remote employees?

Here are some ideas on how you can celebrate an Employee Appreciation Day remotely:
  • Organize a live event: pack it up with fun games, exciting prizes, and guest appearances. Hold Virtual Reality Games and Shows: some examples of these would be a Virtual Amazing Race, Virtual Game Show, or Virtual Horse Racing Competition.
  • Invite Guest Speakers: Pick an interesting topic that your employees would like and invite an expert to talk about it. Topics can range from stress reduction, sustainability, communication, diversity.
  • Half Day-Off: possibly the most appreciative act you can give them is more personal time to relax and recoup outside of work.

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