Remote working - While some employees thrive in remote work, the lack of connections and loneliness is a real problem we face.
Virtual gifts - With customizable and personalizable virtual gifts, they can be sent and received across the world.
Gift list - From coupons and subscriptions to physical gift ideas, we have gathered a list of the best 15 virtual gifts you can send to your remote employees.
Factors of consideration - Keep in mind whether the gift makes your employees feel appreciated, offers a sense of community, and stick to your budget.
At Omnifia - In the past we’ve sent chocolate boxes, crochet sets and meal vouchers.
Our take - These little tokens of appreciation can lead to big differences in employee engagement, motivation and even improve employee retention.
Remote working has been a trend on the rise for the last decade. But, it has only accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to reconsider how they operate.
In 2022, 62% of employees aged 22 – 65 say they work remotely within their companies’ hybrid schedule, and it has been reported that by 2028, 73% of all departments are expected to have remote workers.
There are many reasons why employees can thrive within remote work. These include being able to work in a space that is most convenient and productive for them and allowing for more flexible hours. However, it can also come with some downsides.
Remote work can leave teams feeling less connected and it has been reported that loneliness is the biggest struggle faced by remote workers, alongside lack of collaboration and communication. It can also leave employees struggling to strike a good work life balance as you can oftentimes be working in the same space as you live.
All this to say - as an employer, you may be left wondering how you can engage your team when they are working remotely. That’s what we’re here to help with! We’ve compiled the best list for virtual gifts for remote employees to help encourage a great workplace dynamic even when you’re not working in the same building.
Virtual gifts are simply gifts that can be sent and/or received virtually to employees working across the world.
They range from gifts that exist only in the virtual space, such as coupons or subscriptions but they can include physical items and box sets that can be bought online and sent to your employees home.
A great way to ensure the virtual gift is the best it can be is to prioritise personalisation and customisation. A personalised gift is a gift that can be made personal to the person it is being given to. This can include using the person’s name within the gift or making it personal to one of their particular interests. Customisation is the process of making the gift personalised as it describes the process of making changes to the gift.
In our list, we have combined both virtual and physical gifts to send to your remote employees. We have also suggested which personality types these gifts could be good for to ensure you can pick the most personalised gift for your employees. Let’s check our list out.
Your remote employees will really love the opportunity to gain free membership to one of their favourite entertainment platforms. Whether this is Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc., paying for a subscription service will allow your employees to enjoy their virtual gift how they want to. From around $10 or less a month, this is definitely not one you’re going to want to skip out on.
Great for: Employees who enjoy spending nights in.
These are a great opportunity to get the whole remote team to get to know each other and to increase morale. There are so many opportunities with these virtual team building events as third parties can be hired to host the event. These can take place over virtual platforms like Zoom. A great example would be the Live Cocktail Masterclass offered at Random Dots which includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic sets to be sent to employees.
Great for: Building genuine connection and rapport between your remote employees.
If you want your gift to have an educational element, then why not give the virtual gift of an online class? There are some subscription services like Skillshare that offer a variety of online sessions to choose from. Or, you may opt to pay for a more individualised session which could give your remote employee insight into a specific skill that you know they are interested in learning more about.
Great for: Employees that are super motivated and want to spend time learning.
One of the downsides of remote work is that you may inadvertently begin to spend less time exercising. This can often lead to a decrease in physical wellness. A way to combat this is to pay for an online fitness membership which would allow your employees to unlock fitness videos and advice without having to actually step into the gym. A great place to start would be My PT Hub which is a web and mobile app which enables personal trainers, coaches and gym owners to help manage people’s workout regimen.
Great for: Employees that are keen on keeping fit and active.
We all love the feeling of being looked after and coming out of a room feeling like our best selves. A great way to make your employees feel like this is by sending them a beauty or wellness coupon. What this will exactly look like will differ across your employees, but it may be giving them a coupon for a new haircut or an opportunity to get their nails done.
Great for: If you want to treat your employees to some self-care time.
Just because things are operating remotely doesn’t mean you can’t offer your employees a great experience. Wine tasting or chocolate tasting gives your employees the opportunity to experience the taste of luxury whilst from the comfort of their own home. This can be great to do over a Zoom call which can allow for communication across the team as you all enjoy your tasting experience.
Great for: If you want to treat your employees whilst getting them to build connections with one another.
We all know that life can sometimes be a little stressful and as an employer, you may want to encourage your employees to take the time to look after their wellbeing. Giving the virtual gift of meditation through apps like Headspace can be really useful for some employees who may not take the time to look after themselves otherwise.
Great for: Employees that have busy schedules and need support relaxing.
There are a surprising amount of tea sampler boxes available across the Internet that you can send to your remote workers. Covering all kinds of tea, these are really great for employees to relax with at the end of a busy week. You can also choose more branded tea sets like Pukka or Whittard for £15.99 or £20.00 respectively if you want to treat your employees a little more.
Great for: Relaxing and to show your employees you care.
This gift may be a little practical but that is definitely not a bad thing. Especially for workers who have just pivoted to remote working, sending your employees stationary and desk supplies can be really helpful. These can also be quirky, buying from places like Flying Tiger can give personality to the gifts.
Great for: Employees who are new to remote work.
Another great practical gift, technology accessories can be really great for all tech-heads within your company. These gifts can range from Bluetooth earphones to a high-quality webcam. These can make a real practical impact on how your employee engages with your company during remote work.
Great for: More technically minded employees.
Still focusing on great practical gifts, giving your employee a portable charger may make their day. We all know what it's like to be busy enjoying ourselves or working productively only to realise that our device is very close to running out of charge. It is important to remember with this gift that you should know which device they use before buying the charger. That way it will be compatible for them.
Great for: Those who are always on the go and work outside of the home space.
No employee will complain when receiving a tasty dessert through the letterbox. This is a great way to treat your employees to something sweet, and it gives you the opportunity to buy from local businesses where your employee lives which can be a great plus. Just make sure you’re aware of all allergens and dietary requirements before sending anything!
Great for: If you want to give your employees a quick but sweet treat.
These are a really nice way to show that you have chosen to personalise the gifts you’re giving to your employees and to show that they are a valued individual within your company. The personalised notebook can include their name or maybe a message that you want to send them, thanking them for their work perhaps.
Great for: Making sure your employees know you value them individually.
This is another “treat yourself” kind of gift, but really who doesn’t want the opportunity to detox using some beautiful bath and body gifts? You can pick out specific scents that your employees specifically like and you can use animal-friendly stores such as The Body Shop.
Great for: A personalised gift to treat your employee.
For the final gift in our recommendations, we think a great gift would be an attractive desk lamp. This is great for those who work outside of the 9-5 hours, which is possible through the remote system, and maybe need better lighting within their work environment. It can also create a nice atmosphere within their makeshift home office and can also be used in the non-work setting too.
Great for: A practical gift that is useful outside of the remote work schedule.
Now that we have gone through our list of the 15 best virtual gifts for remote employees, let’s take the time to consider the three main elements that you, as the employer, should consider before buying any gift.
A big part of buying gifts for remote workers is to remind them that they are appreciated within your company. Getting each remote employee the same gift may devalue it and make them feel less appreciated so you may want to choose gifts that fit best for their personality type and specific interests.
If you feel as though your employees are struggling with their communication, it may be because they don’t feel comfortable within the team. You may then want to get a gift which is better suited for team building and collaboration rather than something they can only enjoy by themselves.
Whilst you may want to get your employee every gift that we’ve listed, that may not actually be very practical. Before anything else, set out your budget and stick to it as closely as possible. You don’t want to overspend on employee gifts and there are some great ways to spoil your team without breaking the budget.
If you’re still looking for more inspiration for gifts for remote employees, then here’s some insight into some of the virtual gifts we’ve sent to our team here at Omnifia.
We are a team that operates remote-first, with the opportunity to work in an office space available for a few days in the week, so we know a lot about sending virtual gifts to remote employees!
We’ve sent chocolate boxes to our employees, just to show our thanks for their hard work within the team. This is a small but sweet gift which can be personalised by sending a customised message alongside the chocolates.
For our team members that enjoy more practical gifts, we’ve sent crochet sets which can be really fun and give team members the chance to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Another great gift that we’ve given are meal vouchers which are a fantastic way to give your employees a chance to have a great night of their choosing. Asking your employees what specific restaurant they’d like to get the vouchers is a great gift option.
Just because your team is operating remotely, it doesn’t mean they can’t be treated every now and again. Gifts are a great way to show that you appreciate your team and help your remote workers to build connections with one another. They can also be used to celebrate your team members' diverse talents and personality traits.
Appreciating your team by giving them gifts will pay off in the long run. It can lead to longer retention in your company as well as higher engagement and motivation across your team.
When buying a virtual gift for remote employees, try to pick a gift that will speak best to them as an individual worker. Always make sure you are sticking to your budget. That way, it will be a win for your company and a win for your team.