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The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for People Who Work From Home

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The holidays are here, bringing the annual awkwardness of gift-giving. Outside of the under-10 set who wear what they want on their sleeve, it’s always hard to find gifts that strike the right tone of practical and thoughtful. But—if you happen to have someone in your life who works from home—you’re in luck! Here’s a list of gift ideas specifically intended to make life easier for your home working friends and loved ones. From big ticket items to stocking stuffers, there’s a range here for all levels of gifting. And don’t forget—most people who don’t work from home full-time still find themselves logging the occasional home office hours. This list will work for them, too!

Get Them Tools They Can Use

Home workers can get so busy with their work itself that they have a hard time picking up new productivity tools. This holiday season is a great time to treat your home worker to something that will make their work life easier. Here are some ideas to help your home worker get their work done faster, smarter, and more effectively:

  • When home workers just need to write emails or use web-based applications, but don’t want to lug around a pricey, full-feature laptop, the Acer Chromebook 11.6-inch laptop is a great option as an ultra-portable backup computer; $171.98
  • The LiveScribe 3 Smartpen looks a standard ballpoint pen, but when you use it to take notes with Livescribe’s dot paper all of your notes are synced to an app on your Android or iOS mobile device, where they can then be converted to digital text. The Livescribe 3 also allows for audio recording (handy for interviews, lectures, or meetings), making it a truly comprehensive note-taking tool; $159.99
  • Sennheiser RS120 Headphones with Charging Dock are over-ear, wireless, rechargeable headphones compatible with all modern audio sources (computers, TV’s, A/V sound systems, etc). Home workers spend a lot of their time in video conferences where headphones are a must, so do yours a favor and help them out of the abyss of flimsy, tinny earbuds; $59.95
  • Being heard during a video conference or audio call is just as important as being able to hear, but your home worker might be limping along using the internal microphone that came with their computer. You can help them do better than that! Blue Snowball USB Microphones are a great way to upgrade your home worker’s audio output, and make sure their top-notch presentations and meeting ideas are easily heard; $69.00

Inspire Them to Get Organized

It seems like every year computer designs get increasingly minimal—whether your home worker uses a sleek, compact laptop, or a thin monitor and wireless keyboard that blends into its surroundings, gone are the days of hulking CPU towers and boxy CRT monitors. The downside of all this minimalism is the amount of dead space it can create on a desk. Let’s face it—the average home isn’t exactly an Apple store, and that dead space is a magnet for clutter. With this in mind, here’s a list of some prime organizational gifts you can buy your home worker to put them on a neat, tidy, and efficient road to the new year:

  • Cyanics i-Bridge MC-300 Monitor/Laptop Stand and Desk Organizers are simple stands that provide a deceptive amount of function—perch a monitor or laptop on top of the elevated stand and marvel at the storage slots that allow efficient spaces for smartphones, tables, post-it notes, and other office supplies. There’s also a built-in four-port USB 2.0 hub, so your home worker can charge those devices while they store them; $27.99
  • Lamicall Adjustable Smartphone Stands are a great example of basic (but game changing) office gear. A Lamicall stand can help seamlessly integrate your home worker’s phone into the rest of their office, keeping it upright and ready for Facetime or hands-free audio calls, and in a position to stay charged so it’ll be ready to go once it’s time for them to head out; $9.99
  • Bluelounge CableDrop Cable Management Systems are adhesive clips that can be affixed to a desk, CPU, or other flat surface, and anchor up to four USB charging cables or connectors, vanquishing clumsy nests of USB cords once and for all; $8.95
  • Vector Cup Holders clip onto the side of a desk or table with a muscular, yet fluid looking clip design, and provide a safe and secure landing spot for a coffee cup, water bottle, thermos, soda can or anything else your home worker is drinking. If only I’d known about these a few laptops ago; $49.95

Help Them Out Around the House

Working from home is a constant balancing act between focusing on your paid job and not letting your house or apartment descend into an episode of Hoarders—if you’re cleaning up around the house you’re not getting work done, but if you let your house go it can be hard to focus on work. The good news for your home worker, though, is that there are plenty of products out there that can help make the gap of paid work and housework easier to bridge. Here are some ways you can help your home worker get a handle on their domestic life so they can succeed in their working life:

  • No joke, the Roomba 650 Robot Vacuum is just that—a robot vacuum! The Roomba 650 has a system of sensors to adapt to its home—even when changes are made to the environment (rearranged furniture, clothes left on the floor, etc). It then uses a three-stage cleaning system to agitate, brush, and suction floors. Roomba’s can be pre-scheduled for as many as seven vacuum sessions a week, and automatically dock and recharge when they’re done—all this while your home worker is freed up to do work that actually pays; $299.99
  • There’s nothing more frustrating for a home worker than spending precious time looking for missing keys or other personal items, which makes the Tile Mate Key Finder a great gift. The Tile Mate is a small, Bluetooth-enabled tracker that fits onto a keychain and lets you track your keys (or whatever you have it attached to), saving your home worker those precious minutes of frantic search; $19.99
  • One of the trade-offs of working from home is that you end up wearing a lot of hats—where office jobs have admin assistants and support staff, your home worker has to cover those bases themselves. So imagine how helpful they’ll find an automated assistant that answers Internet queries, reminds them about appointments, and controls their background music while they work. Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home device are both leading the charge in home automation suites—tools that can do all of the above, and then some; Amazon Echo, $79.99, Google Home, $79

Get Them Out of Their Chair

By now we’ve all heard the adage, “sitting is the new smoking.” Research shows that adults who spend over four hours a day of seated screen time face a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and a 125 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease over those who don’t. Since working from home invariably leads to prolonged bouts of sitting in front of a computer, any steps you can take to get your home worker out of their chair is going to boost their health in the long term. Here’s a list of gifts, big and small, that are guaranteed to keep your home worker moving:

  • The LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk (US$1499,00 at Amazon) provides a 38” x 29” surface desktop area attached to a treadmill that allows home workers to get those vital steps in while they work. LifeSpan’s treadmill desk also includes a console readout for distance traveled, calories burned, walking time, and step count, and allows you to wirelessly sync your activity data to a smartphone using LifeSpan’s free app. The LifeSpan treadmill desk is the most expensive item on this list by far, but—if your home worker is a partner or family member—it might be time to make that investment; $1,499
  • If your home worker lives anywhere near a regional, state, or national park, they have a perfect place to spend some time getting away from their desk and logging some much needed physical movement. However, sometimes when things are close, we tend to overlook them. By gifting your home worker a parks pass, they’ll have a built-in reminder to take advantage of these precious resources; Annual National Parks passes are $80, State and Regional prices will vary (in my state annual passes range from $50-$195, and in my county they are $69)
  • Getting a record of physical activity from a fitness tracker is another great way to inspire movement. Gift your home worker with a Fitbit Charge 2 and they’ll be able to measure their calorie burn, heart rate, and daily steps. Movement doesn’t have to be a mystery anymore; $128.00
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