Hands holding a wrapped gift.
What better time is there than the holidays to show someone you care? For business owners, that should include your employees, the people who are absolutely indispensable to your business. Their work throughout the entire year is what enables you to celebrate starting another year in business.
Show them how valuable they are by giving them the greatest gift of all: the gift of productivity. The right gift can show them not only that you appreciate them, but also that you want to make their daily lives easier and more enjoyable.
Here are a few ideas to kick-start your list — and your teammates’ productivity:
1. Career development courses
Whether it’s helping teammates develop new skills or enhance an existing talent, career development courses can lead to a more engaged, focused, and productive team. Ongoing training makes employees more proficient and more valuable in their roles. But investing in career development courses will also boost morale and create a more well-rounded unit.
Offer your employees a subscription to LinkedIn Learning or sign up for Udemy for Business so they can take classes that will help them learn or strengthen skills that will help them advance professionally.
2. Desk plants
Various studies have found that plants make employees healthier and happier. Why not give each team member a plant for his or her desk? It’s a simple way to improve productivity that won’t break the bank. Besides, it will spice up the office and make it look like people actually express themselves while they’re there.
If you need some ideas on which types of plants to purchase, consult gardening or plant sites or experts for insights on what’s easy to maintain.
3. Healthy office snacks
There’s definitely a link between diet and productivity. Just think about how you feel after eating a bacon cheeseburger for lunch: probably lethargic and ready for a nap. But if you eat the right foods at the right time, you’ll replenish your energy levels, boost your brainpower, and improve your sleep. You’ll also have more self-control and be more likely to make better decisions because low blood sugar won’t be an issue.
To tap into these benefits, offer your team healthy foods to munch throughout the day. Because running to your local grocery store during the day may not be feasible, consider snack boxes from NatureBox, SnackNation, or Graze that are mailed to your office. You could also enable employees to order individual boxes with snacks based on their dietary preferences.
4. Noise-isolating headphones
Background noise, like chatty co-workers and busy streets, aren’t just annoying. They’re also distractions that break up a person’s concentration and flow. With that in mind, the most convenient solution is to provide your staff with noise-canceling headphones.
Bose’s noise-canceling headphones — the 700 model — cost around $350. But budget-friendly options like the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 come in at around $40.
5. Smart speakers
Smart speakers probably aren’t a great option if your office has an open floor plan. But smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Dot, Sonos One, or Google Nest Mini allow your team to control background noise or music, add new calendar entries, or set reminders just by using their voice. These devices can also facilitate meetings and calls more easily.
6. Ergonomic office equipment
Regardless of where you’re working, you must have an optimized environment. After all, when you’re comfortable, you’re more productive. This year, why not give your squad ergonomic office furniture?
Possible ideas include a standing desk like the Ready Desk 2, a Capisco Ergonomic Office Chair, or a Microsoft Sculpt.
7. Oil diffuser
Aromatherapy is a simple and cost-effective way to improve concentration and energy levels, as well as reduce anxiety. Give workers an oil diffuser, like the Urpower Essential Oil Diffuser or the Vitruvi Stone Essential Oil Diffuser, that can be placed in their offices to help them remain productive throughout the day.
They may even choose to take the diffuser home to help them unwind at the end of the day so they’re recharged the next day.
8. Planner or agenda
Don’t overlook the power of a paper organizer. It may not seem as accessible as the digital tools at your disposal, but manually taking notes can improve productivity. Note-taking can also reduce stress and provide reference materials, and it’s easy to convert notes into to-do lists.
While there’s no shortage of paper planners you could offer to your staff, I’m a fan of smart planners, like the Moleskine Smart Planner Pro. It’s a standard planner, but everything you jot down syncs digitally as well.
9. Weighted blanket
It’s almost impossible to be productive when you’re not getting enough quality sleep. While there’s still more research to be done, it’s believed that weighted blankets can help you sleep better. That’s because they decrease anxiety, increase serotonin, and reduce restlessness.
10. App Store/Google Play gift card
Although considered by some to be a lazy and uninspired gift, gift cards to the App Store or Google Play make for great presents when paired with a personalized card. For example, if an employee has opened up to you about her struggles with anxiety, you could suggest that she use the gift card to download an app like Calm or Headspace.
This is also a great option for employees who like to listen to music or podcasts while working; it can even help the people who like to play games during short breaks to boost productivity.
11. Perks and benefits
Research for the 2020 Robert Half Salary Guides found that the top benefits employees demand are health insurance, paid time off, dental insurance, retirement savings plans, and vision insurance. As for perks, employees are asking for flexible scheduling, paid parental leave, employee discounts, free food, and volunteering. Also, wellness programs are becoming more in-demand.
Depending on the size of your business and budget, it won’t be possible to provide all of these incentives to your employees. But you could start by permitting telecommuting or flexible schedules throughout the holidays and into the new year. You could also provide wellness programs or bring in experts, like accountants or financial planners, to help employees with questions regarding taxes or retirement savings.
This may not seem like the most exciting gift, but it shows that you appreciate your teammates by letting them know that their wellness is a priority for you. In turn, you’ll have a more motivated and healthier workforce.
12. Prioritized time with each employee
Stop telling your workers that you don’t have time for them. Instead, walk around the office and have informal chats with employees for a few minutes. Invite them to lunch. If an email doesn’t require a lengthy response, get back to your staffer in a timely manner.
Not only will this give you the opportunity to recognize people’s hard work, but it also lets you get to know them better. It underscores your genuine interest in them and what they do.
Finally, spending one-on-one time with each employee is the perfect occasion for you to help them solve any time management or productivity problems they’re experiencing.
Find a great holiday gift to help your workers become more productive, and you’ll reap the rewards in 2020 — and beyond. Best of all, you’ll inspire more loyalty and thoughtfulness among your entire team.