July 13, 2021

42 Welcome Back to Work Gift Ideas [2021 Post-Covid Guide]

By Sendoso
Working from home. Self-quarantining. It’s the “new normal” for many Americans (and millions of people around the world).

Many employees who’ve been away from the office since the pandemic are looking forward to returning.  In fact, according to Eagle Hill Consulting, 71% of employees say they’re confident their employers can bring workers back to the office safely. 

If you’re planning on reopening up your workplace, why not give a gift that says, “Welcome back, we missed ya!” Easier said than done, right?

Shopping for colleagues can be the toughest task to pull off. Especially when you have a mix of personalities, cultures, and interests to consider. 

We did the legwork for you and hunted down the best welcome back to work gifts for every type of co-worker or employee. But first, let’s look at what makes a good welcome back gift.

What Is a Good Welcome Back Gift?

Giving welcome back gifts is a great way to boost your employees’ morale and it strengthens the bond between co-workers and team leaders. 

While choosing the right gift for employees can be tricky, the general principle remains the same: Get thoughtful but fun items that aren’t too costly or offensive.

It’s not easy to strike the balance, which is why we picked out a variety of unique gift ideas for everyone you work with.

Whether it’s the office techie, department’s intern, or the front office assistant, our curated list of welcome back to work gift ideas are sure to fit the bill.

1. Back to the Office Mug

How could you go wrong with a mug? Everyone uses them in one way or another for coffee, tea, juice, or even water. Select one with a funny or inspirational saying that makes them smile. There’s a variety of fun and quirky mug options to select from, so try to add some personality to your choice.

2. Cold Brew Maker and Tea Infuser

For the quasi-professional barista in your team, a combination cold-brew maker and tea infuser is the perfect welcome back gift. They’ve already mastered the art of making the perfect cup of hot coffee, so help them take on cold brew with this easy-to-use device.

3. Chocolate Gift Box

Sweet tooth? Salt lover? It’s not always easy choosing the best treats for an employee. But odds are, you won’t go wrong with chocolate. You can mix up different flavors from caramel and toffee to milk and dark chocolate. Add a personalized welcome back message to add a personalized touch.

4. Reusable Food Storage Bags

Have employees who love to snack? (Who doesn’t?) Get them a set of reusable food storage bags for their cookies, nuts, or apple slices. They’re simple to fill and reduce the odds of spills. Oh, and don’t be surprised if they sneak snacks into meetings, because they make zero crackling noise.

5. Leather ID Card Holder

Nothing says “welcome back” like a shiny new work ID cardholder. It’s a stylish and practical gift that’s full of character. And it’s long-lasting too. Personalize it with the employee’s name or initials at the front and present it in a branded gift box.

6. Beauty Gift Box

For the makeup fanatic, a back-to-work themed beauty gift box will keep them looking their best at the office. Pick a box with a selection of products to hydrate and protect their skin, even as they walk around wearing masks.

7. UV Phone Sanitizer

Your employees spent a lot of time at home, cleaning and sanitizing. Who can blame them — everyone’s worried about getting sick. So help them feel reassured about returning to the office post-Covid by gifting them a UV phone sanitizer. They can keep their phones, keys, wallets, or other small items germ-free anywhere and anytime.

8. Custom Stationery

Pencils are practical and useful, but they also make for meaningful welcome back to work gifts. Get custom pencils for your employees to use for jotting down notes. Or to make the gift last longer, opt for custom pens with inspirational sayings etched on the side.

9. Personalized Notepads

If you’re unsure what to get all your employees, a set of personalized notepads is a nice welcome back gift to consider. They can use it for work-related note-taking or drawing random sketches. Notepads are simple, practical gifts you can get for everyone in one go. Just make sure to personalize them with branding and/or employee names so it doesn’t feel thoughtless.

10. Bracelet Key Ring

Your employees always go above and beyond for you. Show them you welcome their return by gifting them a bracelet keyring or appreciation key tag. For the employee who can never find their keys, a bracelet keyring is also easy to spot. Add a personalized message to let them know they play a key role in your company’s success.

11. Pencil Vase/Holder

Notice a handful of pens and pencils sprawled across employees’ desks? Or maybe they’re consistently left scrambling about looking for something to write with. Ease both of these problems by getting a goofy-shaped vase or holder. It’s a peculiar, but useful gift that could act as an icebreaker or conversation starter.

12. Crewneck Sweatshirt

Give your employee a snug sweatshirt with their favorite email phrase like “per my last email” or “noted with thanks”. It’s a great way to keep them warm and welcome them back to office life.

13. Mini Humidifier

Show your employee you care about their wellbeing by giving them a compact, portable humidifier. It’s a genius desk accessory that gives off moisture to offset dry air in their workstation.

14. Desk Mat

Cheer up your employee’s workspace with a bright mouse pad or desk mat. There are tons of design options and sizes you can get. Consider getting them one for the office and home so they can enjoy the same comfort wherever they decide to work.

15. Dry-erase Slab

For the employee who hates a cluttered desk, help them toss out all the Post-it notes with a dry-erase slab. It sits nicely between their computer monitor and keyboard so they can maximize their work area.

16. Succulent Plant

A low-maintenance indoor potted succulent is a great way to say welcome back and add warmth to your employee’s workspace. It doesn’t hog space and can power through even if they forget to water it a few times.

17. Laptop and Screen Cleaner

For the employee who loves to snack at their desk — this handy little tool will keep their smartphone, tablet, or laptop screens smudge-free. No more blurred and sticky gadgets.

18. Catered Lunch

If you know your employees’ favorite lunch spots and meals, welcome them back with catered lunch delivered to the office. Be sure to take note of dietary needs when choosing a restaurant so everyone can eat and feel included.

19. Hatch Idea Journal

Your employees’ thoughts deserve a special place. A journal could be the perfect welcome back to work gift to remind them that they deserve the credit for their brilliant ideas.

20. Custom Message Donuts

Send a special welcome back message to your employees through an assortment of donuts. Spell out the “Welcome Back” sentiment through a variety of donut flavors like chocolate chip, orange blossom, or vanilla sprinkles for a sweet back-to-work treat.

21. Shoulder Bag

For the employee who loves to move about with their personal items, tech accessories, laptop, and documents, a shoulder bag is an excellent welcome back gift.  Pick a durable, stylish bag in their favorite color, with lots of pockets for quick access to essentials.

22. Plant Cube

A gardening kit is a witty and thoughtful gift that can serve as a daily reminder of your gratitude. Add a personalized quote your employees will like or something related to your company that will make them feel glad to be back.

23. Books

Show your employees that you’re invested in their learning and development by giving them a welcome back book that speaks to their interests. It can be a book on a topic that’s closely aligned with their position or a topic they’ve said they want to learn more about.

24. Snack Pack

When working at home, your employees may have snacked excessively with endless refrigerator drive-bys. Why stop now? Send them a personalized package of your employees’ favorite goodies is a nice show of gratitude for their return.

25. Flowers

Flowers are a tried-and-true way to brighten your employees’ day, especially when they’re unexpected. Get them delivered along with a card and message that shows you’re happy they’re back.

26. Team Happy Hour

Treat your employees to a casual team happy hour to laugh, cheer, and commiserate about all the work-from-home mishaps that made them miss the office. It’s a great way to have some outside-the-office fun while getting the team excited to get back to work. Then for the workers who don’t drink, you can have virgin drinks ready to go.

27. Travel Perks

If you prefer to give more practical welcome back gifts to your employees, offer parking permits and bus passes to lessen the financial toll of daily commutes. They’ll appreciate being able to save a few bucks for other important things.

28. Smart Mug

Whether your employee prefers hot or iced beverages, an insulated smart mug will ensure every sip sits at the ideal temperature. They’ll also feel good to be back to their normal workplace routine.

29. Reusable Whiteboard Stickers

Like a favorite coffee mug or great playlist, a reusable whiteboard sticker can turn planning into less of a chore. Welcome your employees back with a reusable whiteboard sticker to help them remember important dates, tasks, and stay organized.

30. Caramel and Chocolate Pretzels

An edible gift, especially one involving caramel and chocolate is a great way to let your employees know you’re happy to have them back. Add a heartfelt welcome back note to make it an unforgettable treat.

31. Audible Subscription

Not all employees love a paperback book, some are just audiobook people. Get them started on their first day back to work with the gift of an Audible subscription.

32. Mini Puzzle

Mini puzzles are easy and affordable gifts to give different people. You can leave each of your employees a puzzle on their desks as a welcome back gift and watch them marvel at the surprise. Choose different pictures and themes to match the style and personality of your employees.

33. Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard

Help employees feel a little pampered with tools that make working at the office more comfortable. Wireless Bluetooth keyboards are portable making it easy for employees to work from anywhere, and they can give tired wrists a break.

34. Pop Up Note Camera Dispense

Gift the employee who loves sticky notes this fun note dispenser to liven up a boring desk full of office supplies. It comes with a fake shutter and flush and dispenses sticky Post-Its notes they can grab before running to meetings.

35. Porter Bowl

For the person on your team who loves to carry their lunch to work every day, a portable and reusable lunch bowl is an awesome welcome back to work gift. It’s microwave safe, spill-proof, dishwasher safe, and packs easily in their work bag.

36. Leather Business Card Case

Give your sales and business development teams a small leather business card case. This way they can store their own cards along with new ones they pick up from networking. You can pick out cases in different colors. And go a step further by personalizing it with their name or initials.

37. Desk Games

Desk games perfectly fit between thoughtful and playful and are a great way to welcome your employees back to the office. You can get a tic-tac-toe set or a Rubik’s cube-style 3D puzzle for the perfect (brief) distraction. They also look nice just sitting on the desk as paperweights.

38. Tiny Trays

Help your employees corral loose change, paper clips, or thumbtacks in style with colorful tiny catch-all trays.

39. Mini Money Tree

If your office is all about desk plants and greenspace, welcome employees with compact mini money trees to expand their mini gardens. They’re only a few inches tall and thrive in partial or low light. Make the gifts seem more curated by getting each employee a different pot color and personalized welcome back message.

40. Desk Mirror

Your appearance is important in the workplace — it shows personality and cleanliness. So why not help workers maintain their look with a small mirror. It’s big enough, props up, and makes it easy to freshen up or apply makeup throughout the workday.

41. Desk Fan

Live in a place with a hot and/or muggy climate? Then a quiet little desk fan can help your employees stay chill in an open office environment. It’s quiet, won’t bother their co-workers, and doesn’t clutter the workspace. Personalize it by getting a fan in your employee’s favorite color and a welcome back note.

42. Headphones

For the employee who loves music, a powerful pair of wireless, noise-canceling headphones is a great way to welcome them back. They can block out any disruptions and background noises that may dirsupt meetings with prospect.

Make Coming Back to Work Easier

Returning employees back to work during and after the COVID-19 pandemic may come with challenges. So don’t expect things to go right back into the swing of things. Everyone will need time to readjust to the new norm, so empathy is a must. 

By giving a welcome back gift, you can help ease employees back into the workplace. Before you know it, you’ll have a high-functioning, productive workplace again. .

At Sendoso, we help companies enhance employee engagement and experiences. Through our Sending Platform, you can send personalized gifts and ship them in branded packaging.

Want to create a back to work employee gifting campaign? Then read more about how Sendoso helps engage workers.

See how companies generate over 200% ROI on new revenue with the leading sending platform.

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