We’ve created a list of 18 welcome back gifts for coworkers and employees who have been on leave or were working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reason for creating such a list lies in the fact that we’re already part way through the first quarter of 2021 and many companies are planning to welcome back their employees as soon as they can.
Have a look at the graph below:
As you can see, the first and second quarters of 2021 seem to be the expected time frame for employees to return to workplaces in 2021, although that’s always subject to government restrictions.
This sort of back-to-school feeling might make some employees feel uncomfortable and reluctant.
Because of the pandemic, companies are working towards creating a safe space for their employees.
The following bar graphic gives us some insight on what companies are doing to ensure proper working conditions and wellness:
Having a closer look at the actions companies are taking, we understand that these seem targeted at maintaining social distancing.
However, these might make employees feel even more stressed about going back to the office.
That shouldn’t of course mean that companies abandon the idea of going back to the office completely.
In fact, although many companies are adopting a WFH model that allows employees to work remotely, many others are not willing to leave their offices entirely.
The following quote says it all:
We therefore understand that, despite the challenges, there’s a need for getting employees back to the office and doing so in a positive and safe way.
We hope that our list of welcome back gifts will make it slightly easier for people to go back to their pre-COVID-19 work routines.
Let’s get into it.
18 Welcome Back Gifts for Coworkers and Employees (2021 List)
Welcome Back Gift #1: UV Phone Sanitizer
We’re kicking off our list with a thoughtful welcome gift that’ll make employees going back to the office feel reassured.
A UV phone sanitizer can help employees feel a little better in terms of keeping their devices clean outside of their homes.
Having spent a significant amount of time working from home, people have got used to always keeping their stuff clean and sanitized.
For that reason, companies can help them maintain that feeling of cleanliness with a phone sanitizer as well as other gifts we’re going to feature a little further down in this post.
Why we like it: We’re all using our phones quite a lot, so being able to keep them sanitized is kind of a big deal!
Welcome Back Gift #2: Light Box
Helping employees feel safe is one thing, and keeping them motivated when returning to the office is another.
For some, this might be like the first day of school and they might be reluctant to leave their homes and families.
For that reason, giving them gifts like a light box with letters, can hopefully make them feel loved and motivated.
Consider writing motivational quotes and phrases that’ll make your employees smile!
Author’s Note: This one also makes a great teacher appreciation gift.
Why we like it: It’s a motivational and fun gift.
Welcome Back Gift #3: Face Covering
You might have guessed this one, right?
A face covering, or face mask, of course makes a great gift for the situation companies and employees are going through.
With face covering being mandatory in most indoors spaces, companies should try to make sure that all employees are well-equipped and own more than one of these.
Why we like it: It’s a must-have in today’s world.
Welcome Back Gift #4: Tumbler and Coffee Mug
Our fourth welcome back gift idea for employees is a stainless steel tumbler or a coffee mug – or both!
Having a number of shared coffee mugs at the office kitchen might have been ok a year ago, but post-pandemic it’s not going to be feasible.
A personalized tumbler or coffee mug can help make sure that each employee is using their own drinkware when back at the office.
Why we like it: It makes a perfect gift that’s thoughtful and very useful.
Welcome Back Gift #5: Lunch Cooler
Our fifth welcome back gift idea is a lunch cooler.
Given restaurant closures and restrictions that apply in the way such places function these days — at least for the most part in 2021 — we can only assume that people will want to bring their own lunch boxes at work.
A lightweight, high-quality cooler can be used by those who want to bring their own food but it also has a function that’s nothing to do with the pandemic, like when having BBQs or picnics.
Why we like it: It can be used in outdoor activities and also make a useful gift for those who prefer to bring their own lunch at work.
Welcome Back Gift #6: Lunch Box
Following up from our previous company swag idea, we think a reusable lunch box would be a great addition to a welcome back gift set.
As we’ve already discussed, most people will most likely want to bring their own lunch, at least for the transition period of the first few months.
That’s why a lunch box can be such a fantastic welcome back gift.
Don’t worry, when people are free to go to restaurants or grab a bite from the deli opposite the office again, the lunch box will still be relevant and useful for after work activities.
Why we like it: It’s an eco-friendly gift that can be used trillions of times.
Welcome Back Gift #7: Hand Sanitizer
The hand sanitizer, along with the face covering we saw a little further up in this post, is a product that’s widely used in 2020 and 2021.
A hand sanitizer or antibacterial hand wipes with a company sticker on them is a simple, yet handy gift that will help you make sure your employees have access to these must-have products.
Why we like it: It’s useful and easy to carry around for those who need to take the metro or bus to get from home to the office.
It’s also really handy when you don’t have access to water and soap.
Welcome Back Gift #8: Wall Art
A nice welcome back gift idea is wall art.
Whether your employees or coworkers decide to use it as a home gift or keep it at the office, having a bunch of beautiful, motivational, artistic frames will add up a positive touch to their surroundings.
Author’s Note: Wall art can also be great for Valentine’s Day for your loved one, as well as a baby shower gift or a school gift.
Why we like it: Such a gift might make employees feel more motivated and comfortable in the office after having spent months working from home.
Welcome Back Gift #9: Goodies Tote Bag
We absolutely love this welcome back gift idea.
A tote bag full of snacks and other goodies is a very quick and efficient way to break the ice with employees and colleagues that you haven’t seen in person for months.
Plus, these snacks come in a sustainable, reusable tote bag that can be used many times and on many different occasions in the future.
Author’s Note: Consider experimenting with some printable gift tags and gift tags templates that’ll add a more personal touch to your gifts.
Why we like it: Who doesn’t like getting a goodie bag? It helps break the ice and bring back an atmosphere of friendly, casual relationship between coworkers.
Welcome Back Gift #10: Office and Home Decor
Another welcome back gift idea that can help optimize the office space and make it more warm and comfortable for people to happily start working at it again, is an office decor gift set.
We think companies should be trying their best to make the workspace a place that employees feel comfortable and secure.
It’s absolutely essential that they try to avoid making people feel uncomfortable in a space that, after spending months at home, might naturally feel more cold and distant than before.
The ultimate reason why we’re presenting you these food and non food gift ideas is to actually highlight the importance of taking things slow and putting some thought behind bringing employees back to the office whenever necessary.
Why we like it: What’s great about a gift like this one is that employees can always take it home if they prefer to have it there.
Welcome Back Gift #11: Tea Gift Basket
Our eleventh gift idea that definitely brings some sort of warmth and homey feeling to the table is a tea gift basket of a gift box, like the one you see below.
A tea gift basket is definitely a unique gift that helps promote relaxation and restore the ritual of having a cup of tea or coffee with your colleagues.
Depending on the products that’ll accompany the tea selection, such a gift can also make a truly premium and thoughtful gift that employees will be more than happy to receive.
In terms of adding up items you could, for example, consider adding up a few custom designed accessories.
Author’s Note: A tea gift basket can also be a fantastic teacher gift, housewarming gift, or even a mother’s day gift.
Why we like it: A tea gift basket is great for both the mind and body.
Welcome Back Gift #12: Come Back Survival Kit
One of the best gift ideas for employees and coworkers coming back to the office is a come back survival kit.
The way we see it is, this kit is one of those incredibly thoughtful gifts everyone will want.
Because it might include a wide variety of products, from tumblers and t-shirts, to hand sanitizers and other useful items.
Author’s Note: A survival kit might also be a great corporate gift idea.
Why we like it: It gives companies the opportunity to offer their employees a variety of products they’ll need for the initial transition period as well as in the future.
Welcome Back Gift #13: Individually Wrapped Snacks
How about creating a beautiful gift box that will be full of individually wrapped snacks?
We’ve all had this experience of having a nice, thoughtful, delicious buffet at work where we could enjoy a number of amazing snacks and treats.
However, doing something similar these days might not be a great idea.
For that reason, some individually wrapped snacks might be just the perfect gift so people do have the opportunity to enjoy some treats at work, without having to use shared plates and tables.
Thankfully, there’s a wide variety of snacks that come wrapped individually so you don’t have to worry about such a gift looking small or cheap.
Why we like it: Safety is now everyone’s priority and a gift like this can show some extra care and thoughtfulness.
Welcome Back Gift #14: Cleaning Kit
A cleaning kit is yet another gift idea that couldn’t be missing from this list of eighteen welcome back gifts for coworkers and employees.
Cleaning products and supplies have become really popular around the world.
They’ve become a necessity because they help people keep themselves and the places where they live or work cleaner.
They’re also important because cleaning products make people feel better and reassured about their health state.
A personal healthcare kit alongside some practical surface cleaners can be seen as an extra measure of keeping the workspace clean and safe for everyone.
Why we like it: It’s handy and really necessary these days.
Welcome Back Gift #15: E-Gifts
This gift idea isn’t necessarily to do with the process of going back to the office after working remotely for almost a year.
It is, however, a nice gift that can be truly diverse and your employees will definitely appreciate receiving it.
Some e-gifts can help your employees relax and get some online things they’ve always wanted.
It can be anything from free digital downloads of e-books, a subscription to a platform like Netflix or HBO – or any other really! – online courses, online music lessons, digital workout sessions, and so much more.
The fact that an e-gift might not always be tangible doesn’t have to mean that it’s not meaningful either.
Author’s Tip: For extra points, you could combine it with any of the tangible gifts in this list!
Why we like it: It can be a truly imaginative gift.
Welcome Back Gift #16: Well-being Sessions
A thing companies should definitely be focusing these days is to provide their employees with any sort of mental health support they might need.
As we can see, the percentage of people who reported symptoms of anxiety disorder has increased by over six percent in comparison to what the percentage was in April 2020.
People have been, and are still going through quite a lot of stress that’s a result, among other things, of the instability and insecurity of the period we’re going dealing with.
For that reason, it’s of great importance that companies try to support their employees’ mental and physical health any way they can.
On that note, companies could organize well-being sessions and mental health support sessions.
Additionally, they could run a staff appreciation week that’ll focus on discussing their staff.
To cut a long story short, people have been affected by coronavirus in different ways.
Some might have been sick physically or experienced high levels of stress and need mental health support.
No matter the case, we think well-being sessions and mental health support is a good place to start; supporting those people and helping them make the most out of their working routine.
Why we like it: It’s incredibly thoughtful and necessary.
Welcome Back Gift #17: Gift Card
We’ve already talked quite a lot about promotional products that can help make your employees feel better about coming back to work.
A bonus gift could be a gift card.
It can be an Amazon gift card that’ll give your employees and coworkers the opportunity to buy whatever they want.
Alternatively, it could be an Etsy gift card that will give them access to a wide range of handmade and DIY items made by local sellers and small businesses.
Why we like it: It gives the recipient the opportunity to buy ANYTHING they want.
Welcome Back Gift #18: Custom Message Card
Our very last welcome back gift idea is basically an addition to any of the gifts that you’re going to offer your coworkers and employees.
A custom message card or a thoughtful, handwritten note might be all an employee needs to feel part of the team again.
We, at PRG, think it’s absolutely essential to not underestimate the importance of emotional connection and try to make this part of the process of getting back to the office.
Why we like it: A welcome back message is thoughtful. Additionally, it might help support employees and make them feel appreciated as well as a reminder that they belong with their colleagues at the office.
Now Over to You
Getting back to the office after a long period of time isn’t easy.
Hopefully, these welcome back gift ideas will make it a bit easier for your employees and coworkers.
Make sure to create a unique experience that really shows you appreciate people coming back to work at the office.
If you need help with choosing the right gift for your coworkers or employees, you can leave us a brief message below.
We’ll try to get back to you as soon possible.
Thank you for reading!