With 2022 just around the corner it's more important than ever to make your employees feel appreciated after an unusually challenging year. And increasingly, businesses are recognizing that although every team's needs are different, the majority of employees want flexibility at work. This new hybrid approach, although it supports new ideals of how work should be, will take some adjusting for employees to fully get into the swing of things.

Studies have found that only 23% of workers want to remain completely remote. From dealing with distractions to loneliness and even burnout, your team can definitely use a boost as they head back to the office. As you brainstorm employee gift ideas for this holiday season, keep in mind that your present should be something that helps employees in 2022 and can have a greater impact on their lives. By choosing gifts that fit a flexible work model, you can help support your employees all year long, especially as they adjust to the new norm.

Why employee appreciation is so important this holiday season

With “The Great Resignation” well underway, a Microsoft study found that over 70% of workers want flexible work options. This blended work model combines the benefits of working from home with those of being able to meet in-office with colleagues when it's necessary. However, how leadership handles this transition will impact employee retention, making it important to make employees feel appreciated as they adjust.  

In fact, retaining employees is already a major issue even before companies make their decisions on whether they have to return full-time to the office. In March 2021, the Society for Human Resource Management warned of a turnover “tsunami.” They pointed to studies indicating that 50% of employees intend to look for a new job this year — and recent data has justified this extreme prediction. One reason is only 44% of employees believe their organizational purpose is aligned with their personal purpose. 

During the pandemic, employees had time to carefully consider whether the company they work for has values and goals that are aligned with their own. Unfortunately, a significant number of leaders are out of touch with the average worker’s pandemic experience. Sustainability, inclusion, growth, and hybrid work models are some of the key elements workers want at a company they work for. While leaders are focused on meeting aggressive growth targets, it can be hard to balance these goals with making sure their team is supported and feels appreciated. When it comes to maintaining your talent, listening to what your team wants is non-negotiable.

With “The Great Resignation” taking a toll across numerous industries, it’s more important than ever to keep your top talent happy. This year, quit rates have skyrocketed for a variety of reasons including disengagement, burnout, workers seeking better work/life balance, or because employees feel stunted in their growth at the company. 

What are the costs of replacing an employee?

And losing an employee costs your business in many ways. When an employee works at your company for a while, they develop communal knowledge, meaning information that is known within a team but unknown outside of it. From a corporate perspective, this know-how is the collective wisdom of the organization created through a group of employees that share such common knowledge. When a member of the team leaves, so does their knowledge. And that’s just knowledge capital. There are other losses when an employee quits.

Profit-wise, the average cost of replacing an employee is six to nine months’ salary or one and a half to two times the employee's annual salary. That means an employee earning $60,000 per year, will cost approximately $30,000 to $45,000 in recruiting and training costs to replace. Gallup also estimates that across the U.S., the costs associated with voluntary turnover total $1 trillion each year. This doesn’t include less measurable costs, like reduced team morale and lower productivity. 

The costs involved to recruit, hire, train, and bring the replacement up to speed are often not taken into consideration but these elements directly impact a business's productivity and profit. In fact, it normally takes 8-12 weeks to replace a knowledge worker and then 1-2 months to get them fully trained. If the lost team member was bringing in $100,000 in revenue, your company will lose around $25,000 in potential income and profits over the next three months or more.

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10 Gifts for employees that show appreciation and suit a flexible work model

While no business is immune to turnover, there are steps you can take to keep resignation rates from going through the ceiling. Employees are the essence and life force that drives your business. As the bringers of knowledge, skills, and experience you want to make sure you're giving back to them and listening to what their needs are, especially during the holiday season. Actions speak louder than words, which is why when you're shopping around for employee gifts they should suit a flexible work model. Here are a few employee gift ideas to brighten up your team's life as they work both at the office and at home:

Gifts that make commuting easier

Laptop Backpack

Today’s true office is the laptop. Whether your team is working from home, the office, or the peak of a mountain, access to a portable computer is a must. This means employees should take steps to keep their devices safe and comfortably be able to travel or commute with them. By gifting your employees a laptop backpack you’re not only making their lives easier when it comes to a hybrid work model, but you’re also ensuring productivity by providing them with a way to keep their “portable office” protected.
However, when ordering physical gifts, it’s important to keep in mind that these will need to be bought well in advance due to supply chain difficulties this holiday season. According to Christopher Ruvo, Digital News Director for Pennsylvania-based Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), "Supply chain issues that are being experienced across industries are also being felt acutely in the promotional products space and that stands to make corporate gifting more complicated this year." In fact, according to CNBC, some 77 ships are waiting outside docks in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, carrying $24 billion worth of goods. The supply chain issue is so serious that economists expect shipping problems to linger well into 2022.

Books

There’s a simple yet magical pleasure to flipping through the pages of a new book. Whether you’re gifting a business book, or one which your team can use to attend a workshop and jointly learn about a topic, books are an excellent tool that can provide insights and help your team collaborate better.
Nonetheless, when deciding upon a book to gift to your employees you should also purchase them well in advance as the book industry is especially affected by the deteriorating global supply chain. In fact, with paper and labor shortages as well as backlogged shipping ports, experiencing disruptions is to be expected. Usually, a book's journey begins in Asia where most books are printed. Since books are too heavy to send by air to North America, they're usually shipped by boat and then brought to you via truck. However, because of the high seasonal demand and shortage of truck drivers, the process has become slower than usual. By ordering in advance, you can help ensure the titles you want are in stock, so you have enough to bulk gift your employees.

Audiobooks

This could be a solution to avoid the supply chain issue mentioned above. Commuting between the office and home doesn’t have to be an unproductive time. Even for people who love books, finding the time to read them can be a challenge. Gifting your employees audiobooks or an audiobook subscription can make the one to two-hour ride an enriching experience. Audiobooks can also change the way we listen, read, and learn, improving the literacy of listeners. There are plenty of benefits to regularly listening to audiobooks, including increased reading accuracy by 52% and improved comprehension by 76%. This ideal gift for those that have a flexible work model enables your team to learn about various subjects and reap the benefits of the content that’s provided. 

Music

Whether commuting in their own car or using public transportation, it can take a while for your team to reach the office. Studies have shown music has a direct impact on listeners’ moods. What better way for an employee to come in with the right mindset to work than listening to their favorite music? By gifting them access to a music streaming app, you not only make that employee’s life more enjoyable during their commute but positively impact workflow within your entire team.

Travel gifts

With the new normal, numerous employees have flocked away from cities. In fact, remote work has been an overwhelming success for both employees and employers. The shift in positive attitudes toward remote work is evident: 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, compared to 73% in a June 2020 survey. More people than ever have moved away from cities, whether it’s to be closer to nature or start a family in a bigger home that’s not as expensive as living in the city. These employees will appreciate gifts that make it easier for them to travel when they do fly to visit the office.

To show your employees you’re grateful for what they bring to the table, make it easier for your flexible team to work with you. Think of gifts that can make long-distance travel or flying into the office quarterly more enjoyable. Whether it’s a set of packing cubes to make their suitcase more organized or a high-quality portable charger, these gifts will not only be useful for your team members when traveling but will also send the message that you’re a leader that supports a hybrid work model.

Gifts that give employees more free time 

With commuting taking on average 27.6 minutes one-way in the United States, the return to the office means employees have less time to cook meals, spend time with their family, do errands, and carry out other key responsibilities from their daily lives. This is why one of the best employee gifts you can give is something that will free up time on their busy to-do list:

DashPass for Work membership

In a recent DoorDash survey, 49% of those respondents said they’ve had at least one work failure, including missing a deadline, a call, or other work matter, due to a need to prep food for themselves or their family. For less than the cost of a $100 gift card, you can give your employees a year of free delivery on eligible orders from 450k+ restaurants, grocery markets, convenience stores, and more. With this gift your employees will be able to save precious time on brainstorming, prepping, and cleaning up after meals as well as grocery store runs. Even coffee can be delivered from their favorite coffee shop to their home or work office for free.
And since the membership also includes free delivery to convenience stores, floral shops, pet stores, liquor shops, and more, they can also schedule picking up diapers, prescriptions, dog food, and more, so they have more time to recharge during lunch and after work. By ordering from local restaurants and shops, you're not only making life easier for your team but shopping local is also a way to give back to their community after a particularly difficult year.

Subscription streaming services

While most people used to enjoy getting together to go on a night out to the movie theater pre-pandemic, nowadays, most people often enjoy entertainment at home brought to them by various streaming services. Treating your hybrid team to a few free months of a streaming service is sure to be a convenient gift that your entire team can enjoy. By finding out what kind of shows they're interested in beforehand, you can make this gift more thoughtful and show you're attentive to what they have to say even in casual conversation. When everyone has the same service, they’re sure to chat about what they thought about recent shows.

Free Lunch Fridays

The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and what better way to encourage remote employees to return to the office than with a free meal? Let your employees know their gift is free lunch in the office every Friday. You can easily set spending limits and track budgets using DoorDash’s Expensed Meals.

Exercise equipment

On average, employees that have a remote or flexible work model tend to be more sedentary than those that work at the office. A study published in February 2021 in Occupational Medicine, found that desk workers reported that their sedentary time outside of the workday increased by almost one hour. By gifting your team exercise equipment, you’re contributing to improving their sleep, reducing the chance of mood disorders, and improving their overall quality of life.

Restaurant gift cards

Everyone enjoys having a meal from their favorite restaurant, especially when it gives them a break from cooking this time of year. By giving your team DoorDash employee gift cards, they can order from over 450k+ restaurants no matter what city they are in.

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Next Step? Get started with the best employee gifts for a flexible work model

As you brainstorm what gifts to buy employees, consider what would make their life easier as they transition to a flexible work model. Even though teams aren’t going to be working together in person 100% of the time, certain elements of company culture should still be implemented for team building to continue. While picking gifts some factors to keep in mind include:

1. Is this gift inclusive?

When coming up with creative ideas for employee gifts, you want to decide on a present that will be inclusive for your entire team. Inclusivity is a crucial element to building a healthy work environment and many companies still have a long way to go. In fact, 20% of workers quit due to instances of discrimination. Providing your team with an inclusive gift will not only bring everyone closer together but will also help build a healthy company culture.

2. Will this gift help reduce burnout?

Speaking of employee retention, burnout is the number one reason employees have been quitting their job during the past months. Thirty-seven percent of the global workforce says their companies are asking too much of them at a time like this. Gifts should focus on helping make your employees’ lives easier and support a healthy work-life balance. And giving gifts that are only about work might seem off-message for employees who feel exhausted from their work. Whatever presents you decide on should be about making employees happy and if they help with productivity, that’s icing on the cake!

3. What’s the impact this gift will have on my employees' everyday lives?

DashPass for Work is a gift specifically designed to help support work/life balance, flexible work models, and show your employees you appreciate their hard work. Not only is DashPass for Work a gift that saves your employees time and money, but it’s also good for your business, boosting productivity and increasing employee happiness. Every time they order a meal to feed themselves and their family, they’ll think of how their company cares.

Contact us to find out more about purchasing employee appreciation gifts using DoorDash for Work or learn all the ways a DashPass for Work membership can transform the way we work.

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Kristen Van Nest
Kristen Van Nest

Kristen Van Nest is an L.A.-based writer with bylines in Forbes, HuffPost, and VentureBeat to name a few. She specializes in helping B2B tech companies explain the value of their solutions, how they relate to market trends, and strategies businesses can use to grow. In her free time, you can find her ordering in dumplings and writing funny content to make people laugh.