Seven Gifts for Tech Employees, $50 or Less

    According to Lands’ End’s 2013 Holiday Business Gift survey, 73 percent of employers who purchase gifts for employees plan on spending around $50. Although 42 percent of those surveyed prefer to give those employees apparel (often company logo’d items), 45 percent of employees prefer to receive a holiday cash bonus.

    Another survey compiled by Glassdoor found that 73 percent of employees hoped for a bonus in cash, and 36 percent would take extra time off in addition to their hard-earned vacation days.

    It seems that most employees would be happy with compensation in addition to their current package. And though it wouldn’t cost a company much to award an extra day of paid leave, coughing up cash for a bonus might not fit into the already-tight budget.

    In that case, do you give gift cards? A nice food basket? A ham? Most employees would prefer something with a bit more staying power. Something useful that they may not have bought for themselves. In that vein of thinking, we’ve come up with a list of seven much-appreciated gift ideas for IT managers to give their irreplaceable employees.

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    Click through for seven gift ideas that are perfect for managers looking to give a gift to their employees, all under $50.

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    App store gift cards are always handy. Most tech employees have a smartphone or tablet and often don’t pay for apps that might be out of their range. With a gift card, though, they might splurge on that new game or even an organization app to help them keep their day in line. Find out which brands of phones or tablets employees use and purchase gift cards accordingly.

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    Bookstore gift cards also make great gifts. They can be used for hard-cover books, magazines, and even e-books through many online booksellers. The latest sci-fi or fantasy novel would make a great gift. Or another employee might put the money toward a book for a class he or she is taking.

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    Movie tickets have gotten expensive, so giving a gift card to a nearby theater makes an awesome gift. Employees can take the family to a show and still be able to afford popcorn, or use the gift card several times to take in a movie by themselves.

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    Coffee shop gift cards are welcome in almost any IT shop. Caffeine is most likely what keeps your employees going through those long workdays and sometimes long nights. Find a local coffee seller or café and give a nice, warm gift of lattes and hot cocoa.

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    Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice pair of headphones? We use them for jogging, exercise, to watch movies in private, while at our desks and at home. CNET lists a slew of headphones in the $50 or less range.

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    Streaming TV, movies, sports and more is all the rage, so any employee will surely appreciate the Roku LT. It provides streaming of tons of awesome programming, and the best thing about it is the price — around $49.

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    Music lovers will enjoy their favorite jams up loud and anyplace they go with a portable Bluetooth speaker. CNET recommends the Cambridge SoundWorks Oontz, a mini Bluetooth speaker that includes a carrying pouch for around $43.99.

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