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10 Virtual Gift Ideas for Remote Teams That Go the Extra Mile

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Virtual Gift Ideas

Everyone likes to feel appreciated for the hard grind they put into their work. The challenge for companies with remote teams is how best to demonstrate that they value these contributions. That’s where virtual gift ideas come in. These little gestures can have a big impact on the satisfaction and engagement of staff. By rewarding success, you can ensure continued productivity and positivity. 

There’s no shortage of fantastic low-cost and free virtual gift ideas for work. Here, we’ve pulled together a selection of 10 brilliant options to get you started. These range from social activities that the whole team can enjoy together to presents that provide physical and/or mental health benefits.

1. What Is a Virtual Gift?

In the context of the corporate world, a virtual gift is a type of reward that employers give to their employees. This digitized present is particularly handy for companies that employ remote workers, as it provides a way to acknowledge the hard work of staff without having to physically transfer an item. Virtual gifts boost morale and motivation by demonstrating that a business recognizes the dedication of its people.

2. 10 Virtual Gift Ideas for Teams to Connect, Collaborate, & Celebrate

2.1. Virtual DIY Creative Class

Virtual DIY Creative Class

Gifts don’t necessarily have to be individualized. One of the most fun virtual gift ideas is to reward the whole team with a creative class where they can enjoy one another’s company while learning a new skill. This skill can then be utilized by remote staff time and time again to make decorative objects for their homes.

There are all kinds of creative classes available online, from standard options like the ever-popular sip and paint classes to more unusual activities like wood burning and blanket weaving. Most of the companies that offer these classes will include all the necessary materials and tools as part of the package.

Hooray Teams, for example, offers tote bag decorating and terrarium building led by professional instructors. The company delivers complete kits to the homes of your employees beforehand, so that they have everything they need to get started, be it paints or plants. The sessions normally last between 60 and 90 minutes, providing plenty of time for guidance, questions, and feedback. 

2.2. Virtual Cookie Decorating Class 

Virtual Cookie Decorating Class 

There’s something very satisfying and soothing about decorating cookies. Not only is it an opportunity to express a bit of personality, but there is also the bonus of being able to consume the tasty end product.

One of the best edible virtual gift ideas for your staff, cookie decorating classes are just as much about team socializing as they are about rewarding employees with an interactive activity. Just send out packs of ready-made cookies with colorful tubes of icing to your remote workers’ houses, set a date that everybody can attend, and let the laughs begin!

If you want a professional third-party business to handle the whole session, Hooray Teams offers virtual cookie decorating classes that include an instructor and home-delivered kits. They also have several seasonal options, including St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

2.3. Virtual Cooking Mastery Class 

Continuing the edible theme, there’s nothing more perennially useful than a cooking class. Give staff the gift of culinary mastery and they’ll be able to whip up delicious recipes for all their future dinner parties.

Depending on the level of complexity you think your employees can handle, there are many levels of cookery classes available online. Some will handle all the arrangements for you, while others require a bit of prep on your part.

For an all-in-one service, Hooray Teams offers a pasta course that comes with both a virtual instructor and all the necessary ingredients delivered to your door. For a wider range of recipes, The Chef & The Dish teaches groups how to make dishes like gumbo, empanadas, and lobster bisque, but all the ingredients have to be sourced separately.

2.4. Virtual Escape Room Adventure

Virtual Escape Room Adventure

Remote workers who like their games will love the gift of a virtual escape room experience. Gather the team together for a series of mental challenges and devious puzzles set in all kinds of outlandish locations, from a 19th-century train to a mafia hideout.

There are quite a few companies that now offer virtual escape rooms complete with remote hosts to ensure everything runs smoothly. Hooray Teams has affordably priced options in settings like a psychiatric hospital and a dungeon that can accommodate up to 100 people and last an hour. We Are Wild Goose are a bit more expensive but can go up to 1,000 people, with games themed around things like arctic exploration and an art heist.

If you’re on the lookout for free virtual gifts for coworkers, there are a couple of escape rooms online tha t can be accessed without paying a fee. Just bear in mind that somebody will need to act as the facilitator, since there won't be a third-party host leading the game.

2.5. Online Learning Platform Subscription

An online learning platform signup is one of the most practical virtual gift ideas. By footing the bill for a monthly or annual subscription, you can empower staff to achieve their professional goals and develop useful skills. This can have long-term benefits for both the individual and your company, making it an extremely productive present.

Udemy is one of the biggest online learning platforms, boasting video courses that teach useful business skills like computer coding as well as more recreational talents like Japanese reiki. You can sign staff up for a particular course or let them choose how to utilize their subscription.

Similarly, Coursera offers the option to purchase a specific course or a subscription to their Plus content. Their catalog includes professional certificates accredited by Google and IBM, and even degrees from prestigious higher-learning institutions like Stanford and Imperial College London.

2.6. E-books and Audiobooks Bonanza

Forget old-fashioned book tokens. These days it’s much easier to buy somebody an e-book voucher or an audiobook credit that’s emailed straight to their inbox. E-books and audiobooks can be bought through e-retailers like Amazon, Apple Books, and Google Play among others. If you want to add a team-building element to the gift, consider purchasing the same item for all members of staff. That way, they can discuss the book in an informal book-club-type setting. 

E-books are one of the more inexpensive gifts for remote workers, with many titles available for $2.99 and $3.99. Literary fiction and business titles tend to come in a little more expensive at around $15. 

Another option would be to give an audiobook subscription for a year. Audible, for example, allows people to give a 1-month subscription for $15, including 1 credit to be used to purchase any title as well as access to the Plus catalog.

2.7. Virtual Self-Care Health Class

Virtual Self-Care Health Class

Help staff maintain their wellbeing by endowing them with some basic skills to keep them healthy at home. Given that remote workers spend most of their time sedentary in front of a computer screen, a self-care class is a great way to remind staff about the importance of wellness, equipping them with skills that they can utilize repeatedly to combat fatigue and stress.

For one-off gifts, Hooray Teams offers 60-minute chair yoga class for corporate teams, imparting several simple stretches and poses that can be executed from a home office. They also have an online meditation class to help people master techniques to cultivate mindfulness and find inner calm.

Operating on a different model, Skillshare is a learning community with lots of self-care videos to peruse. All of these are accessed through a monthly subscription. The website does not provide a professional instructor like Hooray Teams, but does offer some more unusual activities, including mindfulness calligraphy and tai chi.

2.8. Gift Card to a Streaming Service

Netflix, Disney+, and many other streaming services offer gift card options for purchase. These can be exchanged for monthly or annual subscriptions, depending on the brand and the tier you’ve selected.

According to a recent Forbes Home survey, 95% of Americans now pay for more than one streaming service. So for sure,  streaming is enormously popular. With inflationary pressures affecting people around the globe, giving your staff a gift voucher for their preferred platform is a great way to show your appreciation and relieve some of the stress on their household budget.

2.9. Online Marketplace Gift Cards

Online Marketplace Gift Cards

Guaranteed to be one of the most popular virtual gift ideas for work, Amazon, creative hub Etsy, and even C2C marketplace eBay all now offer gift cards. These can be purchased for a variety of denominations, so that you can show a little bit of appreciation with a $10 voucher or give a big thank you with a $50 voucher.

One of the biggest pros of an online gift exchange card is that your staff can buy whatever they like. Each individual has the freedom to choose an item or items that meet their personal needs.

If you’re looking for a quirkier option than the major players, consider looking at gift cards from Poshmark for secondhand clothing or Gourmet Food Store for specialty food and drink items.  

2.10. Subscription Box Marvels

Subscription boxes have taken the world by storm, with something for every taste. For remote workers, the most appropriate option might be a caffeinated signup like Driftaway Coffee to perk them up in the mornings, but the choices are endless.

There are subscription boxes like SnackCrate for people who get the munchies, Birchbox for beauty products users, Cocktail Courier for the boozehounds, and HelloFresh for people who want to learn new recipes. You can even send staff a monthly wellness package from TheraBox filled with self-care rituals.

Most of these services provide a good amount of flexibility, so that you can give a monthly, three-monthly, or annual subscription, depending on your budget – and how much you want your staff to love working for your company.

3. FAQs

3.1. How do you gift someone virtually?

Purchasing virtual gifts is usually as simple as entering a few details about the sender and the recipient, then submitting payment information. The gift provider will send an email to the recipient with a link to the experience, voucher, or subscription. All your staff then need to do is activate their reward.

3.2. What gift can I send via email?

E-vouchers for online marketplaces, audiobook tokens, and even virtual self-care classes can all be sent via email. Often the company that supplies the gift will directly email your chosen recipient(s), but sometimes they will also provide a link that you can share with staff yourself. 

3.3. How do you do a virtual gift exchange?

The most common virtual gift exchange ideas revolve around Christmas, such as Secret Santa or White Elephant. Essentially, each participant buys a single present for a randomly assigned coworker. As it’s virtual, staff should purchase items that can be transferred over the internet, although some companies allow objects to be posted as well.

3.4. What is the best gift exchange generator?

There are several popular virtual gift exchange generator websites designed to make the process of allocating Secret Santas and similar concepts much simpler. Elfster is free and one of the best-designed options on the market, but there are also pared-down alternatives such as Namedrawing.com that are easy to use but don’t offer as many features.

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