Other than typical boring things like stationery with a company logo or candy bags it’s not always easy to come up with good inexpensive motivational gifts for employees. Below you’ll find a hand-picked selection of 45 interesting gift ideas for your employees on a budget: each less than $25!
Whether you have a small business with a handful of people in your team or a huge company with thousands of employees, it’s critical to let everyone know they are important, at least once in a while. Surprise them with small appreciation gifts at a corporate party, for your company’s anniversary, at a team-building event, or just for Christmas!
You may also find useful my other gift guide with various ideas of practical presents for remote workers!
Anyway, here are 45 inexpensive employee appreciation gifts to motivate and empower them!
1. Encouraging poster
NO ONE IS YOU AND THAT IS YOUR POWER
Everyone’s input is important! The combination of different characters is what makes your team so strong and creative.
Celebrate the unique qualities of each employee and focus on their strengths, not weaknesses.
2. De-stress ball
FEEL BETTER CROISSANT DE-STRESS BALL
Work can be stressful sometimes! Give everyone a fun squeezy thing to relax and release some tension during or after a long day at work.
They have other shapes besides croissants too! Remember: happy employees = happy customers = happy boss!
3. Scratch poster with fun ideas
100 THINGS TO DO SCRATCH OFF POSTER
There are plenty of reasons why you should care about employees’ life outside work. The simplest idea is this: if they are satisfied with other areas of their life, they are more likely to come to work in a good mood and be more productive as a result.
A scratch poster like this offers a 100 cool ideas how to spend the time after work. Enough with similar evenings of watching TV on a couch! It’s time to go out and have some fun and memorable moments to share with colleagues the next day.
4. Empowering notebook
YES YOU CAN NOTEBOOK
Instead of a traditional notebook with a company logo, gift everyone with something more empowering!
Plain paper notebooks are still used a lot at work to take notes during face-to-face or zoom meetings, write down new ideas, or brainstorm on a difficult task. How about having something on your desk that always “believes” in you and says “You can do it!” whenever you reach for it to scribble something down?
5. Hot stuff thermal mug
STRONGER THAN YOU THINK
Great gift idea for all the coffee lovers in your office! Is it about the strength of coffee or more a reminder of a strong character or the owner? Might as well be both!
A good-quality thermal mug prevents you from drinking your coffee cold and disgusting. It keeps everything warm even if you get caught up in work or called for a sudden meeting after just pouring a fresh drink.
6. Power bank
UNITRON WORLD PORTABLE CHARGER
Modern devices hardly last a day compared to simple week-lasting phones we had just a few years back.
Portable and lightweight, this power bank lets you be flexible and not tied to a socket so you can run around with work errands and not worry about your smartphone suddenly dying on you.
7. Mini art print
TODAY IS A GOOD DAY
Keeping employees in a good mood is crucial for their performance! Slight reminders like this mini art print around the workplace will make them smile more and elevate their motivation levels to get work done.
Every day should be a good day, if you ask me!
8. Adult coloring book
THE MINTED 2020 COLORING BOOK
Who said that coloring books are only for children? Adults need a way of creative expression even more than kids!
Curators from Minted created an art book that combines dozens of unique illustrations made by independent designers. From geometric patterns to simple shares to encouraging words, there is something for every stressful day.
9. Motivational keychain
12-PACK KEYCHAINS WITH INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES
Looking for something small but meaningful that won’t hurt your budget but can still encourage employees? Go with a motivational keychain!
Quite a good corporate gift idea you can buy in bulk – and everyone gets a different inspirational message! It can also work as a little bonus item added to the main gift.
10. Cute planters
SELF-WATERING DINOSAUR PLANTERS
Why always be so serious? Please everyone’s inner child with a cute dinosaur planter! It makes a fun addition to any office desk, lightens the mood, and waters itself so doesn’t require too much attention.
Each dinosaur comes with seeds: red one gets wild strawberry, green grows lucky clover, and orange has sweet basil.
Not only it’s good to have greens in the workplace but you also get a feeling of accomplishment when you grow something from nothing!
11. Coaster set
RELAX COASTER 4-PACK
Another cheap appreciation gift idea you can buy in bulk! A fun coaster is a tiny accessory that not only helps a worker to relax a bit during the coffee break but also protects the desk surface from damage and stains. Two birds with one stone!
12. Travel mug
SUN RETRO ART TRAVEL MUG
Let’s not stick strictly to the office desk, right? A travel mug is colorful, practical, and fun! It’s one of the motivational gifts for staff that will remind them about their cool boss – even when they are far away on vacation!
13. Letter board
RUSTIC WOOD FRAME BLACK FELT LETTER BOARD
A Stylish-looking rustic board with tons of pre-cut letters is a nice addition to every workplace! It’s a source of daily motivation if you fix your favorite quote on it or a good way to express your current mood for everyone to know.
Don’t forget to pre-write something encouraging before gifting to make everyone smile!
14. Motivational shirt
IT’S A GOOD DAY TO BE HAPPY
If your office dress code allows casual shirts, great! If not, they can wear it somewhere else and get reminded of the company anyway. A simple black shirt with a saying is always a good conversation starter which adds to warmer relationships among coworkers as well.
Another great motivational gift idea to make employees feel good wherever they are!
15. Bonsai kit
INDOOR DESERT GROW KIT
Aloe, cactus, bonsai, or maybe a palm? Let everyone choose for themselves! Organize a fun desert-like interior in the office with everyone contributing to it by growing something natural on their desks!
Or it could be a unique item for someone’s home office setup!
16. Tote bag
OK TOTE BAG
Care about the planet? Supply your staff with these positive tote bags to replace all the plastic they may still be using. They won’t be able to resist taking it along every time they go grocery shopping!
Another positive mood keeping gift for team members!
17. Motivational phone case
HAPPY TODAY IPHONE CASE
Even something as simple as a phone case with a positive message can show your appreciation. Say thank you for all the hard work and show that you care that your employees are happy every day!
This also works as a gift for remote employees to cheer them up!
18. Foot Care Kit
OVERNIGHT FOOT CARE KIT
Well, that’s definitely not your typical boring employee appreciation gift! Every worker will be happy to receive an unexpected care package for their tired feet, whether they sit behind the desk or walk the whole day.
Apply the foot cream and put the coziest socks on – and wake up with a pair of soft moisturized feet that are happy to start a new day!
19. Bookworm scratch poster
100 BOOKS SCRATCH OFF POSTER
Yes, there are still many people out there who read books for fun – and I bet there are some among your employees!
As traveling scratch maps are put to rest thanks to the pandemic, we can still scratch something while safely staying at home! This poster offers 100 book suggestions and is a perfect solution for someone who never knows what to read next.
20. Gratitude journal
ASTER GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Writing down a few things you are grateful for every day is one of the known ways of living a positive life. The more you pay attention to the little good things that happen to you, the more they actually happen!
Research showed that keeping a gratitude journal may lead to increased employee satisfaction at work as they learn to appreciate more things they already have.
21. Laptop Stickers
INSPIRATIONAL STICKERS FOR LAPTOP 50PCS
Who doesn’t love stickers? Even if someone doesn’t like to clutter the precious surface of their laptop, a sticker can be also used for a car, a planner, a helmet, or a hydro flask. And maybe even in a gratitude journal from the previous point!
A bunch of motivational stickers is a nice cheap idea when you are looking for bulk gifts for employees: give one or a few to everyone depending on the size of your team and you are good to go!
22. Compliment art print
YOU ARE MINI ART PRINT
Another nice gift to boost morale of your team members. This mini art print doesn’t take too much space on the desk but provides a dose of empowerment on a daily basis!
Smart? Strong? Beautiful? Unique? Worthy? Enough? Whichever word jumps to your eye today, take it as a compliment, and don’t forget to smile!
23. Inspiring throw pillow
IT’S A GOOD DAY TO BE HAPPY
Remember the t-shirt? That same encouraging message comes on a pillow too!
24. Water bottle
DRINK MORE WATER BOTTLE
It’s so easy these days to dive into a pile of work for hours in a row and forget about water consumption!
Keep your team hydrated by surprising them with fun water bottles that track if they sip enough through the day.
25. Fun note block
PENCIL & PAPER CO. HAPPY NOTE BLOCK
Among all the unique employee appreciation gifts that exist, let’s not forget about stationery. If post-its or non-sticky notes are common at your employees’ workspaces, level it up with a bunch of happy notes instead!
Even simple things like that add up to raising positivity at work and making everyone a little bit happier!
26. WFH survival kit
WORK FROM HOME SURVIVAL KIT
Many teams went into a full-on remote mode since 2020 and if that’s the case for your company, this is exactly that unique remote employee gift you are looking for.
From Do Not Disturb sign and earplugs for limiting distractions to a quick stretching-at-your-desk yoga guide, this survival kit has everything your employees may need for a more comfortable WFH experience.
27. Positive mug
POSITIVE VIBES MUG
Show me one person who doesn’t drink tea or coffee at the workplace during the day! There is no such thing as too many mugs if they are fun, motivational, and make you feel better.
Order similar ones with a strong positive message for everyone or a set of different designs around one topic – it’s up to you. And then enjoy watching your employee’s happiness levels rise with every cup of coffee!
28. Creativity poster
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX POSTER
Encourage creative thinking with a poster like this if you want your employees to come up with new fresh ideas. Old approaches may be good and all but the company can actually benefit from different points of view and brainstorming improvements.
Who knows, someone may even surprise you if you let everyone know they can speak up!
29. Custom notebook
I AM VERY BUSY NOTEBOOK
Just another funny notebook that lets a person be more organized. As a bonus, it minimizes human distractions in the office as people see this “I am very busy” attitude and might reconsider bothering someone with not-that-important stuff.
Zazzle also lets you edit the design to add your company logo or whatever you want to personalize it or make it even more unique!
30. Succulent planter
BABY GROOT FLOWER POT
Even for someone who hasn’t watched Guardians of The Galaxy, this baby Groot planter is simply too cute to resist! It’s a fun tiny piece of decoration that will fit any office.
If a person is not into plants or succulents, it can also be used as a cutest pen holder ever!
31. Post-quarantine fun to-do list
100 THINGS TO DO AFTER QUARANTINE
The longer we are in isolation, the more tempting usual fun activities seem to feel. Wanting a forbidden fruit is in our DNA!
From warm hugs to music festivals and social gatherings, give your employees something to look forward to, even when it’s scary outside.
32. Fun face mask
MYSTIC EYES FACE MASK
The idea behind any employee appreciation gift is to show that you care about them and how grateful you are to have this person as part of your team.
What’s a better way to show this than giving everyone a fun face mask? Two years back I couldn’t possibly think of suggesting this on my list of inexpensive motivational gifts for employees but it’s a new normal now!
Everyone wears them whether they want or not so let’s just make this whole process a bit more fun and positive!
33. Mindfulness journal
DO ONE THING EVERY MORNING TO MAKE YOUR DAY
Mental health is as important as physical health for employees to be able to perform well! This journal offers daily prompts to practice mindfulness as well as motivational quotes to start every day on a positive note.
Let them come to work in a good mood and inspired to do their best!
34. Motivational laptop skin
HUSTLE LAPTOP & iPAD SKIN
Where there are laptops, there is room for laptop skins! Fun, bright, and suitable for every office worker, it’s probably one of the best inexpensive motivational gifts for employees you can find!
35. Motivational poster
YOU CAN DO THIS POSTER
Support and encourage! A beautiful motivational poster that they can hang in their cubicle or home office is a great tool for producing better results at work.
Research proves that recognition is highly important for employees so make sure to show that you believe in their abilities and value their professional skills!
36. Audible subscription
AUDIBLE PREMIUM PLUS GIFT MEMBERSHIP
More and more people start to consume books in audio instead of on paper. A subscription to Audible service can be both fun and practical: from indulging in favorite fiction authors to deeper learning on professional topics, there is no limit to what they can listen to!
Gifting a one-month membership will show for whom it works – and for others, cancelation is just one click away!
37. Motivational magnet
TODAY I WILL MAKE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
In every house there is a fridge, which means you can hardly ever go wrong with a motivational magnet!
Choose a pretty one with some encouraging words like this one from Redbubble and rest assured most people will love it!
38. Car air freshener
GOOD VIBES ONLY CAR AIR FRESHENER
It’s always nice when your car smells good! Choose a slight scent that would please everybody, add to it a design with a bunch of positive words, and another motivational gift for employees is at your service!
Or order a bunch of different scents so the pickiest people in your team may choose whichever one they like!
39. Positive wood sign
SANY DAYO HOME WOOD BOX SIGN
One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day! Maybe a sign like that can motivate some good thoughts every morning? Especially when designed in such a beautiful way!
This small wood sign can stand on the desk or hang on the wall according to the owner’s taste. There are various different sayings available from that seller if you don’t wanna hand out exactly the same gifts to everyone.
40. Fun puzzles
METAL AND WOODEN BRAIN TEASER PUZZLE SET
No matter how old, everyone loves themselves a little challenge! Brain teasers offer some alternative activity to switch your brain to during a short break from work. And the proud feeling of accomplishment is inevitable and so pleasant after you finally figure that thing out!
This is another good example of bulk employee gifts you can buy as a pack and give a random piece to each of your team members.
41. Positive mouse pad
TODAY IS GOING TO BE AMAZING
A mouse pad is a useful accessory for everyone who works behind the computer. Choose good-quality mats with some motivational art and there you have pretty good unique employee appreciation gifts on your hands!
You can also tweak a design before ordering to add your company logo or personalize it in some way!
42. Inspirational calendar
TODAY IS GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY
Why only give one motivational gift to someone if you can give them 365 days of positivity instead?
This page-a-day calendar offers upbeat messages combined with bright illustrations to start your day on a positive note. The more good vibes you surround yourself with, the better, so why not let this calendar be a part of it?
It’s perfect for a work desk to set employee’s mood as soon as he or she comes to work in the morning.
43. Soy candle
PERSONALIZED SCENTED SOY CANDLE
A personalized gift shows much more appreciation than a random thing companies usually give to everyone.
You may come up with a specific message that is meaningful to a person or just craft one quote that is only important to your company’s employees. Either way, it will be seen as a carefully chosen gift and highly admired.
And gifting a scented candle is always a good idea!
44. Encouraging bookmarks
60 PCS ENCOURAGING BOOKMARKS SET
Besides the obvious (books), bookmarks can also be used for notebooks or journals mentioned above. It’s another tiny little something that can be bought in bulk and added to the main gift to spruce it up a bit.
In this set, there are six 10-pack bookmarks with different two-sided designs, each of which is supposed to encourage, support, and motivate your employees to do their best.
45. Thank you card
Finally, add to whatever employee appreciation gift you choose a nice thank you card to make it clear how important this team member is for you!
Make sure to personalize the message and not simply write off some duplicated generic words to everyone.
Final thoughts on inexpensive motivational gifts for employees
These were my 45 ideas for cheap employee appreciation gifts. As an employee in the past myself, I would be happy to receive any of these as corporate gifts from the company I worked for!
It’s not surprising that employees always stay longer with the company if they feel it cares about their well-being and appreciates their hard work. The cost of little “Thank you” gifts is in most cases much lower than the cost of finding and onboarding new team members. That’s why you should consider giving out some presents from time to time, even if those are just bulk gifts for staff like magnets, coasters, or stickers from this list. Show your attention, and they will stay for more!