People who work from home crave comfort, a visually pleasing workspace, and the ability to work in peace. At least, that’s what I’ve found after surveying my fellow Wirecutter staffers (roughly 65 percent of us work remotely) and from having spent over two decades working from my home office. Here you’ll find the best gifts any remote worker will appreciate, from simple tech upgrades to little luxuries that they can enjoy throughout the workday.
For the comfy worker
Glerups Wool Slippers with Open Heel ($95 at the time of publication)
Uniqlo Men Sweatpants ($30 at the time of publication)
Uniqlo Women Sweatpants ($20 at the time of publication)
American Giant Classic Full Zip ($110 at the time of publication)
Stereotypes of remote workers living in their PJs aside, a big plus to working from home is being able to wear whatever makes you comfortable—no suits or fancy shoes required. Glerups Wool Slippers with Open Heel are a minimalist, warm, and durable slipper for year-round use. Wirecutter deputy editor Christine Cyr Clisset wears hers regularly when working from home, and says it’s a “stylish slipper that works extremely well as a house shoe—but without making you look like a slob.” Christine prefers the rubber-soled version because she can wear them to move her car or take out the trash.
For the worker who wants the comfort of pajamas but also wants to look reasonably put together, consider well-tailored sweats. Uniqlo men’s and women’s sweatpants, a staff favorite, offer warmth and softness at a bargain price. And to complete the comfy ensemble, American Giant’s hoodies in men’s and women’s sizes feel so durable, they could last a lifetime. (I’ve owned two for over three years without any signs of wear, and they’re even softer than on day one.) The high-quality cotton in deep, rich shades can feel like an all-day hug.
For the organizer
MobileVision Desktop Paper Tray File Folder Holder & Bamboo Drawer Set ($55 at the time of publication)
The Traveler’s Notebook (about $45 at the time of publication)
Shutterfly Easel Calendar ($25 at the time of publication)
Most people who work from home manage their own schedules and use whatever productivity system they prefer. Still, everybody could use a little help. The MobileVision Desktop Paper Tray File Folder Holder & Bamboo Drawer Set will help keep a desk tidy, and you can find several variations to choose from to create an organization system, including pen holders and stacked drawers. (I gave one to myself this year, and it blends in perfectly with our bamboo standing desk picks.) For planning the day-to-day, The Traveler’s Notebook is the most versatile paper planner/notebook/calendar under the sun. Different inserts for the leather folio mean your gift recipient can customize it to how they work, and it’s slim enough to fit on even cramped desks.
For a personalized office gift, you can customize a Shutterfly Easel Calendar with uploaded photos. Shutterfly’s quality photo printing makes it our favorite service for photo books, and we’ve personally used the service for a range of photo gifts. Unlike typical desk calendars, the monthly calendar card and wooden stand take up little space but will remind your recipient of you every time they check what day it is.
For the chronically distracted
Light Me Up Signs “On Air” Art Deco Recording Studio Sign ($115 at the time of publication)
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 ($400 at the time of publication)
LectroFan ($50 at the time of publication)
You might think working at home would offer peace and quiet to get stuff done, but all sorts of things can steal someone’s focus, including gardening noise from the next-door neighbors, the sounds of cars or trains passing by, and family members who don’t understand that even though you’re at home you’re at work. For a fun version of a do-not-disturb sign, consider a light-up, remote-controlled “On Air” recording studio sign or an “On the Phone” sign. When it’s lit outside an office door, relatives or roommates should know to stay away. (But we make no promises.)
You can also help your work-from-home friend block out noise with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. They have superior noise cancellation and are comfortable and adjustable to boot. Or, for a less expensive option, give a white noise machine. The LectroFan isn’t just for sleep; on a desk it takes up little space yet is powerful enough to mask even screeching cat noises.
For the nester
A few personal touches go a long way to making a home office feel welcoming (and light years away from a sterile office cubicle). Hanging above my desk are two framed pieces of artwork depicting covers of books from my favorite author—a holiday gift that I’ve enjoyed for years. Framebridge can give your friend or family member a similar experience by framing a favorite photo or most types of art in attractive and easy-to-hang frames. Or for another office-decor upgrade, the Book/Shop SSB-1 in Birch Ply handmade bookcase is both practical and beautiful, showcasing books in an inviting way. A houseplant is another option that’ll instantly transform a workspace and possibly boost productivity by 15 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The Sill offers a wide selection of plants, including in categories such as pet-friendly and beginner-friendly plants; Wirecutter social strategy manager Sasha VanHoven says that the best part about using The Sill is that you can easily give a plant to someone 10 or 1,000 miles away. See even more ideas in our guide to plant gifts for new plant parents.
For the worker who needs an upgrade
Some tech accessories seem “extra” or unnecessary—until you try them. Give your remote-worker friend a RAVPower Wireless Charging Station, and they’ll be amazed at the convenience of wire-free phone charging. It’s the fastest wireless charger we’ve tested, and it props up an iPhone or Android phone for use while the handset is powering up. A dedicated webcam is another example; the Logitech C920S offers higher-quality video than built-in webcams and a privacy shutter for peace of mind. And in a survey of fellow Wirecutter staffers who work from home about what tech gift they’d like most, a mechanical keyboard came out on top. A mechanical keyboard is much more satisfying to type on than a standard keyboard, and since remote workers typically work alone, they can hit the clickety-clackety keys with wild abandon. The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB split mechanical keyboard is the best ergonomic keyboard we’ve found, great for people who type all day.
For the work-from-anywhere friend
For the friend who is always on the move, consider giving mobile gear. Wirecutter staffers have a lot of favorite laptop backpacks, but the Rains Backpack Mini might be best for short commutes to a coffee shop, with its slim size and minimalist lines that look good in any setting. Wirecutter updates writer Dorie Chevlen says: “The days I carried it for testing, I even received a few compliments from strangers—an unheard-of event on the otherwise aloof streets of New York.” If you want to make sure you can always get in touch with your loved one who is always on the go, get them the TravelCard Charger; it easily fits in a wallet or pocket, ready to supply a battery boost for their phone and save the day. And for reliable, last-all-day Internet access, the Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L is the best Wi-Fi hotspot for US nationwide coverage, helping any remote worker get their job done when there’s no free public Wi-Fi around.
For the constant snacker
Zingerman’s Weekender Gift Box ($100 at the time of publication)
Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart ($80 at the time of publication)
MistoBox ($60 for three boxes at the time of publication)
Adagio Teas Tea of the Month Club ($60 for six months at the time of publication)
Even though remote workers might be 5 feet away from the fridge, making meals and maintaining energy throughout the day can still be a challenge. One of our favorite gift boxes, Zingerman’s Weekender Gift Box, is ideal for the person who needs something to nosh on but has run out of snacks in the pantry (a common remote-work crisis). For more substantial sustenance, the Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart is a time-saving pressure cooker … and rice cooker and slow cooker and yogurt cooker and everything-else cooker. It’s easy for your gift recipient to make lunch or dinner by throwing ingredients into the pot during a break and then come back to a full meal in under an hour. And for a constant supply of caffeine, a coffee subscription from MistoBox or a tea subscription from Adagio Teas will warm many a remote worker’s heart. Both services offer a wide variety of flavors, of exceptional quality, to experience. I’ve been using both services for years, and each shipment has been a delight.
For the fancy worker
Little luxuries can go a long way toward lifting someone’s mood and making them feel special, even when they use the items every day in the same room (or corner of a room) while working from home. Consider a pen: The Caran d’Ache 849 Brut Rosé ballpoint pen is partly made from real gold and is a pleasure to write with—Wirecutter senior project manager Sam Morrison says “it’s like butter skimming over a hot pan.” The Garnet Hill Wool & Cashmere Throw is likewise lust-worthy but not something your gift recipient is likely to buy for themselves. It’s super-soft, lightweight, and stylish—the trifecta for a throw. Another item that remote workers will likely use all day, every day, is a mug for coffee or tea. Upgrade those moments with something that looks as great as it feels to drink from. The Kanso Hasami Porcelain Mug, handmade in Japan and designed to last a lifetime, pairs with a wooden coaster that can also serve as a lid to keep beverages warm. Wirecutter updates writer Eleanor Ford says that “it’s mostly just a lovely work companion with a perfectly simple character.”
We love finding gifts that are unusual, thoughtful, and well vetted. See even more gift ideas we recommend.
About your guide
Melanie Pinola is a Wirecutter senior staff writer covering all things home office. She has contributed to print and online publications such as The New York Times, Lifehacker, and PCWorld, specializing in tech, productivity, and lifestyle/family topics. She’s thrilled when those topics intersect—and when she gets to write about them in her PJs.