Once again it’s holiday season and we begin to think of how we can show gratitude to our employees, co-workers and teams for all of their amazing work over the last year. While it’s most important to give on-going, empathetic feedback all year long, a more traditional gift is a thoughtful way to cap off the year and say thanks for a job well done.
It can seem hard enough to buy a gift for someone we’re with every day, but it can feel even harder when it comes to getting something meaningful and personalized for a remote worker who we don’t get to see face-to-face as much as we’d like.
As a fully-remote, global team here at Hubstaff, we know a thing or two about the kind of gifts we’ve all loved to give (and receive). These are our fave picks for the top gifts in 2019, with enough variety to make sure you’ll find the perfect fit for all the different tastes, personalities and lifestyles of everyone on your remote-worker-shopping-list.
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It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Literally. Subscription boxes are a great way to give an on-going gift throughout the upcoming year that will add a little boost to your favorite remote worker’s day.
Coffee Esperanto, starting at $30/month
“But first, coffee.” Remote workers need to get their morning (or afternoon, or late evening) caffeine fix just like everyone else, and if you’ve got a coffee aficionado on your team this is the perfect way to help them try out new brands and varieties. Each shipment includes single-origin beans from local farms in different regions, and you can choose to send just one box or a monthly subscription. Each pack comes with information on the coffee’s cultivation and specific brewing advice so they can create the perfect cup.
Gold Medal Wine Club, starting at $39/month
If adult beverages are more your thing, then you can help your employees unwind with a glass of wine with a subscription from Gold Medal Wine Club. With six different plans featuring unique bottles from a variety of boutique California vineyards, everyone from wine noobs to wine snobs will find their new favorite vintage. Choose to send reds, whites, or a combination of both and say cheers to 2019.
Free Your Tea, starting at $16/month
Coffee lovers don’t believe this, but not everyone is a coffee lover. Whether it’s for the health benefits or the satisfying feeling of wrapping your hands around a freshly-steeped mug while gazing contentedly out a window (that’s what tea always does, right?), a selection of gourmet teas is another tasty option for those remote workers who include it in their daily ritual. Free Your Tea offers six loose leaf teas from around the world each month, including a caffeine-free option for those who don’t love the stimulant jitters.
Kombucha Co, $7/bottle and 10% off with subscription box
Kombucha is one of those things that you either love or hate, but if you love it then you really love it. For those health-conscious, kombucha-loving teammates, Kombucha Co has you covered. Wait, kombu-what? While it’s existed for thousands of years, kombucha has only recently become more popular in North America. A fizzy, tangy beverage produced by fermenting tea, sugar, fungi, and bacteria, it offers a host of medically-documented health benefits, including boosting energy, fending off certain cancers, detoxing your body, and aiding with weight loss. Kombucha Co’s subscription will send a variety of flavours right to your lucky recipient’s home each month.
LinkedIn Learning, starting at $19.99/month
Remote workers usually aren’t included in standard skill development programs. So this holiday season is the perfect time to invest in career development for your employees and offer them some extra education no matter where they live.
A great option is LinkedIn Learning. Powered with content from well-known e-learning pioneer Lynda, their new combined platform offers a huge catalogue of courses, including over 1,200 for business, 600 for software development, 700 for design, and many others. No matter your remote worker’s area of expertise, they’re sure to find the right courses to take their skill set to the next level.
Udemy, various pricing
Putting the “you” in academy since 2010, Udemy is a leading global marketplace for on-demand remote learning. Connecting more than 40 million students to 130,000 courses in 60 languages, it’s a truly one-stop-shop to offer any kind of employee new learning opportunities in their own language and at their skill level.
Offering both technical and academic courses, Udemy helps both for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations train and inspire their employees for the future world of work. With more that two-thirds of students outside of the United States, their truly global focus helps give educational access to students and professionals in traditionally under-served areas and makes work training available to anyone with an internet connection.
Cudoo, various pricing
Cudoo offers a vast library of courses with topics ranging from business management to different languages. It’s a great choice to gift your remote workers who are always hungry to learn something new from wherever they want.
Adding a charitable angle, for every course you complete, Cudoo offers to another up-and-coming professional who needs it from anywhere in the world for free. Not a bad way of celebrating the season of giving.
Every remote worker has their own style and vibe when they set up their at-home office. From binaural beats to podcasts to Top 40, one of the many advantages of working from home is the ability to play your own music, as loudly as you like, without having to worry about your cubicle neighbours. That’s why smart speakers are a perfect way to help your remote teams work how they prefer and add some high-quality sound to their personal environments.
Sonos One, $199
Hey Google… or Alexa… or Siri! Sonos One is an industry-leading smart speaker with voice control built right in, so your teammates can control their tunes without having to take their hands off their keyboards. It connects to Alexa, Google Assistant, and AirPlay 2, (and soon to Google Home) so it’s super versatile while delivering top-rated sound quality, stable multi-room audio and smart-home functions. Even better, Sonos One connects to around 100 streaming audio services from around the world, a thoughtful touch if you employ global workers.
JBL Link View, $299
If your co-worker’s need to multitask extends into their tastes in tech, then a smart speaker with a touchscreen could be just the thing. JBL Link View gives you the best of both worlds — a stylish speaker plus an 8-inch screen for both great sound and visual capabilities. It comes loaded with Google Assistant for quick answers, gives you weather information and offers CNN news briefings. If your employee is a chef or at-home cook, JBL Link View also serves up step-by-step audio and visual directions for recipes. (We’d ask for proof of it though, in the form of cupcakes, mailed back to you. Thank us for that suggestion later.)
Working remotely often means your water cooler talk might be with Alexa (or your pet) so music or ebooks are a great way for at-home workers to take a break and shift gears before diving back into their tasks.
Amazon Music Unlimited, $9.99/month
Amazon Music Unlimited is a great option if your remote workers already have an Alexa or two in the house. It’s easy to stream songs while working, relaxing, or work-laxing. Creating separate playlists for work-life and home-life is a breeze, and it comes preloaded with suggested playlists and personalized stations.
For the employee who loves to read, try a subscription for audiobooks like Scribd. This platform started as a company that published academic papers, but since then have transformed into offering a huge selection of ebooks, audiobooks, and news feeds. Your employees will have unlimited access to over one million titles accessible online and on their Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, or Nook devices.
Ergonomic office equipment
No matter where you work — an office building, at home or at a local cafe — a comfortable environment is key to success. Some people do better standing to work, some people need a certain keyboard and others need the ideal monitor to keep their bodies in good condition. Here are some great options to save your employees a trip to the chiropractor.
Dell UltraSharp 24 monitor, $179
Remote workers tend to spend more time at their computers than traditional office workers, on top of spending a good deal of time on video calls, so a great monitor is vital for reducing both eye and neck strain. The Dell UltraSharp 24 Monitor offers a 90-degree pivot, 45-degree left and right swivel, 20-degree back tilt, and a screen height adjustment range of 4.8 inches. Super light, making it easy to move around, it’s sleek design makes it look as good as your employees will feel when they use it.
Microsoft Sculpt, $66.49
Many employees are on a computer several hours a day, and poor ergonomics can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other conditions. For remote workers whose livelihoods rely on their ability to type comfortably, this can be a huge concern. To help save some strain on your employees’ fingers and wrists, the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard’s curved design automatically positions both the fingers and wrists in a more natural way. Plus, it comes with a mouse and a separate number pad for those doing a lot of data entry, and is wireless so it’s easy to pick up and move between at-home and shared work spaces.
Ready Desk 2, $149.99
Not just for the office of the future anymore, standing desks are becoming more popular, and for good reason. They keep the blood circulating in the body, help you stay alert and offer good ergonomic support. Ready Desk 2 is a great standing desk if your employees are looking to take a stand. It’s easy to assemble, doesn’t take up too much room and integrates quickly into any at-home office environment. Plus, employees can leave their traditional sit-down desk intact and have this as a second option when they want to stand for an easy cross-over work style.
Who doesn’t love snacks? The answer is nobody, because everybody loves snacks. Remote workers miss out on the latest birthday cake leftover in a meeting room, so sometimes we have to bring the snacks to them. Everyone benefits from taking a snack-fuelled break, and since remote workers don’t have a fully-stocked lunchroom (yes, we know they have kitchens, but it’s not the same) sending them some awesome snacks in the mail is the next best thing.
Keto Krate, $39.99/month
Much like kombucha, the keto diet is one of those things that the people who are into it love it a whole lot. If your employees have said goodbye to carbs and embraced the keto lifestyle, then Keto Krate is the way to go this holiday season. This company offers both sweet and savory snacks that are all low carb. Each month your employees will not only get the snacks, but recipes and coupons to use to buy more keto-friendly products.
Snack lovers will love what Graze has in store, from flapjacks to chocolates to berries. For $41.97, you can give your employees a voucher for three boxes, each containing eight snacks. What the snack boxes contain is entirely up to you, or you can let Graze decide what to send based on dietary preferences. Snacking while working has never been more exciting.
Universal Yums, $84.00
Your remote employees will be glad to know it’s possible to experience fine snacks from all over the world without leaving their homes. For $84.00, Universal Yums will send your employees a box containing six snacks from different countries, for a span of six months. The boxes also come with a booklet containing stories, trivia, games, and even recipes. This can be a great talking point to bring together remote workers in different countries — who wouldn’t want to join the Slack #globalsnack channel?
NatureBox is a great option for health-conscious snackers. With over 40 varieties of snack, all made with health as a priority, you can pick from options that are high in protein or fiber, vegan, or other types based on your team’s diet. Gift card prices start at $25.00.
Cool desk accessories
Even though your remote workers don’t reap the benefits of stopping to smell the flowers at the reception desk, it doesn’t mean their office should lack color or personalization. Try these ideas to brighten up their workspace.
Bottled Sunshine, $199
If your employee works in a cold-weather climate or one where it rains often, try giving them some Bottled Sunshine. This is a lamp that mimics the natural sunlight. It will brighten their space, boost energy and can be easily transported bedside for improved sleep.
Lula’s Garden, $25.00
Starting at $25.00, Lula’s Garden offers hand-planted succulent gift boxes shipped nationwide—an eco-friendly way to add some green to your employees’ lives. Pick from a variety of lovely succulent and box options including the Original Gardens set, which contains three small, fresh succulents pre-planted in a beautifully designed and sturdy planter box, or the Holiday Bliss Garden, which contains a fresh succulent garden in a beautifully crafted planter gift box.
Earphones are a remote worker’s best friend. Whether it’s ignoring a barking dog or tuning out noisy neighbours in a co-working space, a great set of earphones or buds is a perfect remote worker gift.
Voyager 6200 UC, $299.95
For the remote worker who makes frequent calls, a good headset is a must. The Voyager 6200 UC is Bluetooth-enabled, lightweight, and sits around the user’s neck with attached earbuds. When not making calls, employees can use the headset to listen to music, podcasts or guided meditations.
Beats Beatsx earphones, $149.95
Beats offers premium earphones with incredible sound quality, and the Beatsx Earphones are no exception. With up to eight hours of battery life for when you’re on the go, these wireless earphones, suitable for any device, are Fast Fuel-enabled—a five-minute charge gives you two hours of playback when the battery is low. Take calls from anywhere with these headphones without worrying about battery life. Plus, select from a ton of color options including matte gold, blue, white, black, gray, and matte silver, suited to any employees’ style preferences.
Giving back is important throughout the year and everyone has a charity or a cause that is close to their hearts. You can either find out what charity your remote worker would like you to give on their behalf or you can use a company like Tisbest. Offering easy-to-buy gift cards that can be applied towards a variety of charities, you can send your employees cards they can use toward any charity of their choice or pick from a list of suggestions. Amounts range from $10 up to $5,000, and you can print it out yourself or choose a biodegradable plastic card.
Ah, the old reliable gift card. If you’re low on time but know you want to send a cute little something, you can always pop into your closest Starbucks or stop by a national movie theatre chain to grab a few gift cards for your employees. If you want to think outside of the regular gift card box, here are a few that you might not have seen before.
Everyone needs to get somewhere, and sometimes it’s nicer to let someone else drive you. Uber is a way of life these days. With an Uber gift card, your employees can enjoy a free ride on you and, no matter what they’re doing, spend less cash on their drive and more on their night or day out!
Heath and wellness are important for everyone these days. Jobs, deadlines and work can get stressful, and everyone deserves a chance to unwind at a local spa. Spa Finder offers gift cards from week-long weight loss retreats to specialized day spa treatments like massages, manicures, pedicures, haircuts and more.
Above everything, remember it’s the thought that counts. No matter what kind of gift you decide to send to your remote teams and colleagues, they’ll know that they’re appreciated for their hard work and you’ll get the best gift of all — the warm, glowy feeling of doing something nice for co-workers that you care about.
This post was originally published in November 2018. It was updated by the Hubstaff Blog Team in November 2019.