Along with everyone else, I’m ecstatic to be wrapping up the year 2020. While that is welcome news, it also means it’s time to show your team your appreciation for all their hard work and flexibility. How about sending your team a practical and thoughtful gift? There are so many fantastic holidays in December, so celebrate one of these holidays by getting yourself something too!
If you’re stuck, though, I’ve got you’ve covered. Here are 12 gift ideas that you can send them. It will highlight your gratitude and help your team step up their work-from-home (WFH) game going into the new year.
1. Standing desk
Do you have team members who are still adjusting to a WFH-lifestyle? If so, one area that you can help them with is by gifting them a proper desk. In particular, one that lets them alternate between sitting and standing.
There’s nothing wrong with what they’ve been using up until this moment. I mean, we’ve all had to get creative, converting anything from a kitchen or folding table into a workspace. However, since it appears that working from home is here to stay for a while, it’s time for your team members to have a proper working area.
Besides, standing desks have been found to reduce pack and lower heart disease and obesity. It’s also been found that they can reduce blood sugar levels, improve moods, and boost energy. And, standing desks can also increase productivity and mental alertness.
I’ll admit right here — I’ve put on a couple of COVID-induced-pounds, so I got myself a stationary bike that fits under my desk, to cycle while working. One of the team borrowed mine, but I miss it, so I’m getting another one.
Best of all? There are a variety of options available, so that price or space shouldn’t be a concern. If you need some recommendations, here are some amazing stand-sit desks you should consider:
- UPLIFT V2 Standing Desk
- Jarvis Whiteboard Standing Desk
- Lander Desk
- Apex Elite Series
- StandDesk® Natural Wood Adjustable-Height Standing Desk
- Ergotron WorkFit-T
- Seville Classics Airlift Tempered Glass Electric Standing Desk
- Varidesk Pro 60 Full Electric Standing Desk
- Autonomous SmartDesk 2
- FlexiSpot ClassicRiser Standing Desk Converter
2. Permanent scratchpad
If you’re like me, you’re probably in the habit of jotting things down throughout the day. It could be a random thought, phone number, or reminder to place a grocery order. There’s actually nothing wrong with this, as writing notes by hand improves your memory, prioritizing skills, creativity and ability to focus.
The problem? The paper that that’s being tossed in the trash. Instead, you can help others reduce waste and keep their workspace clean with a nifty dry-erase clipboard, such as the Quartet Glass Dry-Erase Desktop Easel.
It’s durable, reusable and small enough not to take up too much real estate on your desktop. You can also stand it upright when you need a visual reminder or lay it down to write. There’s also a clip holder for papers if needed.
3. Light therapy lamp
There is such a thing as the winter blues. It’s actually called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s a type of depression that affects around 10 million Americans during the colder months of the year.
If not addressed, this can negatively impact your physical and mental health. You may also become more apathetic, withdrawn and less productive. The good news is that this can be combated with a light therapy lamp.
These are essentially feel-good lighting to supplement the lack of sunlight during the winter. As such, they can help with sleep disorders by regulating our circadian rhythms. They can also improve our moods.
A popular option is the Verilux HappyLight Luxe. It delivers up to 10,000 lux through a 52-inch screen. That also makes it compact enough to be placed on your desktop, or you can mount it onto a nearby wall.
You can also customize the settings depending on how you’re feeling. That’s because you can adjust the brightness and colors. And there’s also a countdown timer as well.
My team tells me they have sore eyes. A couple of them are getting Gunnar glasses. I think they are the best.
4. Noise-canceling headphones
Background and ambient noise, such as children, garbage trucks or barking dogs, can easily disrupt your concentration. Thankfully, there is a simple and effective way to block these annoyances out; noise-canceling headphones.
Of course, these do more than just drown out distracting sounds. You can also use them to listen to your favorite podcasts or music. And they are also perfect for voice calls.
Both CNET and TechRadar have listed the Sony WH-1000XM4 as the best all-around. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and provide exceptional noise cancellation. You can also connect to two devices simultaneously, allowing you to do things like answer the phone easily. I just ordered the new Apple Airpod Max, we’ll see how they turn out.
I get it. You’re also feeling Zoom fatigue. Unfortunately, video conferences are here to stay.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look presentable and professional during the next video call. Rather than relying on the questionable and janky quality of built-in computer cameras, splurge for a webcam.
A lot of people have raved about the Logitech C920 and have dubbed it the best overall webcam. It “records sharp videos at 1080p and 30 frames per second, and has a wide 78-degree field of view that’s ideal for both solo conference calls and large meeting rooms,” writes Michael Andronico for Tom’s Guide. “Its sleek black design is equally ideal for clipping to displays or attaching to tripods, and its companion software offers customizable backgrounds and avatars.”
What’s more, it “also features dependable dual microphones for capturing your voice.” And, you can probably find one for under a hundred bucks.
6. Wireless charger with an organizer
Is this a flashy gift? For some, probably not. However, it could be a thoughtful gift that kills two birds with one stone.
Products like the EasyAcc Wireless Charger Desk Stand Organizer Wireless Charging Station or Veelink Bamboo Wireless Charger with Organizer will keep your team’s workspace clutter-free. It will also conveniently charge their phones without having to deal with cords. Also, they’re fairly inexpensive if you’re on a tight budget.
I love Anker products, too — especially the 13-in-1 thunderbolt. I’ve already put several of these in the office — and a few of the team came and got them and took them home, so they are a good product.
7. Door hanger dry-erase whiteboard
At some point, while working from home, you’ll have a housemate barge into your office. If you’re taking a break or cleaning out your inbox, this is no biggie. But, what if you on an important call or honed-in on your dep work?
A simple way to solve this problem would be to close your office door. Of course, not everyone will adhere to that, and even if they do, just knocking can be just enough to knock you off-track.
The good news? Some ingenious people developed a dry-erase board that you can hang on your door, such as this one from Etsy. It lets others know to be quiet because you’re working or on a phone call. Even better, it also informs them not to knock or when it’s okay to whisper.
8. Daily planner
Even though we live in a digital world, there’s just something about a daily planner that most of us enjoy. Personally, I use one for journaling, organizing my priorities, and reviewing my schedule without getting distracted. Moreover, planners can reduce stress, improve productivity, and can be used as a creative activity.
If you have team members struggling with any of the above, then gift them a handy planner. Some suggestions are:
- Moleskine Classic 12 Month 2021 Weekly Planner
- Leuchtturm1917 Weekly Planner + Notebook Medium (A5)
- Purpose Planner
- Clever Fox Planner
- Passion Planner
- Panda Planner
- Related: How To Use A Daily Planner To Boost Your Productivity
9. Laptop and screen cleaner
Your laptop, along with your phone and tablet, is a magnet for dust and grime. It could even become a breeding ground for bacteria that could cause your devices to overheat, drain your battery or have keys get stuck.
Because this is something that most of us haven’t put much thought into, your restore workers will probably be thankful for something like the OXO Good Grips Sweep & Swipe Laptop. On Cleaner. On one side, there’s a microfiber cloth to remove fingerprints and smudges from screens. The other has a brush for removing any dirt or dust.
Here’s another gift that may not seem all that electrifying. However, plants can spruce up any workspace. More importantly, they remove toxins from the air and boost both productivity and satisfaction.
At the same time, you also want to send a plant that is easy to maintain. It should also be small enough to fit on any desk or office space. Luckily, the following meet all of the qualifications listed above:
- Snake plant
- African violet
- English ivy
- ZZ plant
- Rex begonia
- Lucky bamboo
11. Timed water bottle
Most of us aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day. To ensure that you and your team are properly hydrated, purchase a motivational water bottle so that you’ll follow through with your health goals.
12. Subscription boxes
A subscription service, like the Jelly of the Month Club, is the gift that keeps on giving the whole year. Obviously, unless you’re an aficionado of jam, your team members will be as disappointed as Clark Griswold. However, if you actually get to know them, you can send them boxes they’ll enjoy, such as:
- NatureBox for healthy snacks. I helped create these office snacks for people like you and me.
- Coffee Esperanto for your coffee lovers.
- Stress Less Box containing aromatherapy products, massage rollers, and a time management cube.
- Lavish Bath Box to help them relax and unwind after work.
- The Adults & Crafts Crate features all the tools and resources for your team to become DIYers.
- MindWander is a self-care box with items like workbooks to decrease stress and anxiety.
- Home Office Essentials Box has everything needed to set up a sweet workspace at home, such as a journal, desk plant, and Bluetooth speaker.
- Happy Hour Box is perfect for virtual after-hour events since it comes with a cocktail kit, icebreaker activity, and healthy snacks.
- Book of the Month is an obvious suggestion for the avid readers in your life.
- Cairn to encourage them to enjoy the great outdoors.
- Hello Fresh for aspiring or time-crunched chefs.
There should be something on this list that you can give your team. Hopefully, your company has survived this year of economic hardship and devastation. Hang on — this next year might be tough — but there have to be some better years coming.
If this year weren’t so bad, I wouldn’t even be talking about the gifts I’ve given myself, but you have to take care of yourself right now, too.
Get something for yourself
For one special person on my team that has gone above and beyond for the entire team — I purchased a Glorious XL extended gaming mouse pad/mat. Amazon has them on sale right now.
I got a smiirl for myself to use at the office to help productivity. It’s a connected counter for social media. One of the best things I’ve ever given myself is a Sisyphus metal coffee table. It is seriously a cool item. A shiny metal marble draws in the sand under a piece of glass — and redoes the design every 15 minutes. It’s a Zen feeling that helps everyone who comes to the office.
This article originally appeared in Entrepreneur.