Unique and Fun Gift Ideas for Employees

Grateful boss handshaking employee congratulating with career achievement
Photo credit: FG Trade/istockphoto

Like a Boss

Employee Appreciation Day is on March 6. Sure, you don’t have to celebrate. After all, you acknowledge your team’s efforts on a regular basis, right? If your answer to that is, “Err, maybe?” you might want to plot a more positive course. A Glassdoor study found that 81% of employees are motivated to work harder when they know they’re appreciated. A simple card or verbal acknowledgment will do, and there are certainly more creative ways to show appreciation — a catered lunch or a day off, for instance. But if giving gifts is your thing, here are 15 ideas that will not only label you a “cool” boss but have your employees appreciating you right back.

Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: 24 of the Most Underpaid (and Underappreciated) Jobs in America

Eyourlife Plant Terrarium
Photo credit: Amazon

Eyourlife Plant Terrarium

Price: $13 from Amazon

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Few things make a desk or cubicle feel less dreary than a living thing. Puppies are out of the question (insert sad face), so how about a plant? Still, you don’t want to make your employees feel like your gift is one more thing they have to take care of. With this hydroponic terrarium, they just have to throw in a little water each week to keep the verdant cheer alive.

Team Awesome Premium Lined Journal
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Team Awesome Premium Lined Journal

Price: $6 from Amazon

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Everyone needs to take notes now and then — or just doodle their way through a boring meeting — and this journal will remind the staff that you recognize their efforts. If “Team Awesome” doesn’t feel effusive enough, dozens of other options are available. Example: “The walls of this office would weaken without your charisma. Thank you for being a part of this team.” Now that’s appreciation.

Affirmators! at Work
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Affirmators! at Work

Price: $13 from Amazon

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Speaking of positive affirmations, this set contains 50 cards that take a cheeky approach toward workplace goals like participation, fulfillment, and follow-through, with most acknowledging that life exists outside the workplace. An example? “No missed deadlines! No forgotten email threads! No sitting around here while there is a perfectly good happy hour going on right now across the street!” Cheers to that!

HiQin Novelty Paper Clips
Photo credit: Amazon

HiQin Novelty Paper Clips

Price: $8 from Amazon

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Sometimes, the people who keep your company afloat just want fun things in their office space (“no personal desk items” policies are the worst). These paper clips in the shape of elephants, cats, birds, and dachshunds will remind them that they work for the boss who appreciates a bit of quirky fun.

Cassette Business Card Case
Photo credit: UncommonGoods

Cassette Business Card Case

Price: $26 from UncommonGoods

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Speaking of fun desk items, this business card holder in the shape of a cassette tape will kindle a sensation of warm nostalgia in anyone who ever owned a tape deck (or signal their hipster coolness to anyone who hasn’t). Win-win.

ComfiLife Gel Enhanced Seat Cushion
Photo credit: Amazon

ComfiLife Seat Cushion

Price: $30 from Amazon

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Because quality office chairs are so expensive, here’s a thrifty alternative that still says that you care about the numb bums and sore backs of your highest producers.

Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
Photo credit: Amazon

Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Price: $53 from Amazon

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All that sitting and banging away on a computer is going to take its toll, no matter how ergonomic their workspace is. You might want to spend just a bit more cash on a gift that says: “Thank you for working so darn hard. Now, please take care of those fatigued muscles.”

EspressoWorks All-In-One Barista Bundle
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EspressoWorks All-in-One Barista Bundle

Price: $250 from Amazon

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Let’s face it: The vast majority of employees just want quality coffee, and sometimes they want that coffee in a bit fancier preparation than drip. This is a pricier gift, sure, but it’s one you can give to the entire office that will be appreciated every single day.

Related: Best Espresso Machines

Kuwan Coffee Mug Warmer
Photo credit: Amazon

Kuwan Coffee Mug Warmer

Price: $26 from Amazon

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Who among us hasn’t gotten so involved in a project or a spreadsheet that our next sip of coffee is ice-cold? The horror. Don’t let that happen to hardworking people. And don’t worry about anyone burning down the office. This one has a two-hour safety shut-off feature.

CraveBox Care Package
Photo credit: Amazon

CraveBox Care Package

Price: $30 from Amazon

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Completing the trifecta of workplace nutrition (or non-nutrition, as the case may be) — fancy coffee, hot coffee, and … snacks! This 60-count CraveBox care package will deliver the goods your team wants and needs to keep cranking out work: salt, sugar, and carbs.

Hasbro Gaming Jenga Mini-Game
Photo credit: Amazon

Jenga Mini

Price: $5 from Amazon

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Do you know what’s fun and stress-relieving? Watching things fall down. This adorably tiny Jenga game is an extremely inexpensive way to let your employees know that it’s okay to take a break when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

The Yoga Deck: 50 Poses & Meditations for Body, Mind, & Spirit
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The Yoga Deck

Price: $12 from Amazon

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It’s important to convey that wellness is a worthy goal, even at work. This set of cards contains 50 affirmations and yoga poses that can be done in just about any office. Bonus: Yoga helps unfetter the mind, clearing a path for even more focused work.

Related: 15 Ways to Stop Being So Sedentary at the Office

Incentive Loyalty Reward Cards
Photo credit: Amazon

Incentive Loyalty Reward Cards

Price: $8 from Amazon

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Give your employees these colorful, generic punch cards, then reward them each time they do something that really impresses you. Punch all 10 holes then give them something they’ll love, like Friday afternoon off.

Desktop Skee Ball
Photo credit: UncommonGoods

Desktop Skee Ball

Price: $35 from UncommonGoods

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We realize that table tennis is the cliché of the startup world, but you don’t have to go that far. Throw one of these in the break room (preferably with a few pizzas) and tell your paid peeps to have fun. For extra brownie points, throw in a mini-cornhole set or other fun tabletop games so that everyone can get in on the action.

ESPN Multi Game Table
Photo credit: Amazon

ESPN Multi Game Table

Price: $277 from Amazon

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Finally, if you do have a bit of extra space in the employee breakroom or elsewhere, why not put in something like this combo game table? It will let your worker bees play hover hockey, billiards, table tennis, and finger-shoot basketball in between checking off deadlines.

Related: 20 Companies Where You Can Bring Your Dog to Work

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