16 Reward Ideas for Motivating Remote Employees

During difficult times and beyond, these gifts will inspire high achievers.

How Do You Pivot an Incentive Program?
Hear case studies from two planners who have recently had to pivot their incentive events during the COVID-19 pandemic, and learn how they turned in-person gifts into virtual offerings at the upcoming webcast on How to Pivot an Incentive Program. Watch on-demand now!

As employees have had to shift to working remotely due the COVID-19 pandemic,  companies face new challenges in trying to keep their workers motivated and engaged. Right now, it's more important than ever for managers to recognize and motivate top performers with meaningful, timely and easy-to-deliver rewards.  Following is our curated list of 16 creative merchandise rewards sure to inspire recipients.

Watches James Bond would covet, a personal "bartender" and high-tech carriers are among the hottest new gifts the top brands are rolling out for 2020. Incentive previews the top offerings for the new decade and beyond.

Dial it up

Bulova timepieces appeal to people who work hard and play hard, making the model 98A162 from the brand's eye-catching CURV collection a perfect fit for winners. The unique curved chronograph movement is housed in rugged titanium and stainless steel with a sturdy rubber strap. Cost: $995. 

Insta prints

Fujifilm's new Instax LiPlay Hybrid Camera is a unique, three-in-one device that lets you snap and print images in an instant (12 seconds, to be precise). The camera integrates with iOS and Android so users can print photos straight from their smartphones; template designs make it easy to get creative. Cost: $169.95. 

Get shady

Maui Jim’s new Waipio Valley sunglass model
Maui Jim’s new Waipio Valley sunglass model

Maui Jim’s new Waipio Valley sunglass model offers a bold take on a classic silhouette. The brand’s proprietary PolarizedPlus2 lens technology protects the wearer’s eyes, while the ultrathin lenses deliver crystal-clear vision. Cost: $349. 

More than a pretty face

Tons of technology is packed into the sleek, 40mm rose-gold case of the Movado Connect 2.0. The smartwatch links to iPhones, Androids and the Wear OS by Google, allowing access to email, apps, calls and more. Cost: $550. 

Custom cuffs

Mantrabands’ understated cuff bracelets
Mantrabands’ understated cuff bracelets

Mantrabands' understated cuff bracelets can deliver uplifting slogans or a custom motivational message. The bands come in a fun "aurora" iridescent hue as well as yellow, white and rose gold tones. Cost: $38 per band. 

Modern classic

The deco-inspired lines and rich malachite-green dial of Seiko's stainless steel SRPD37 model were inspired by the heyday of classic cocktails. This new entrant in the brand's elegant Presage Collection has a traditional leather strap, both automatic and manual winding, and a precise 23-jewel movement, visible thanks to the clear caseback. Cost: $425. 


Road warriors' best friend


Tumi's V4 line of luggage marries durability with portability, thanks to an ultralightweight polycarbonate material. Featuring proprietary handle and wheel systems, and an integrated TSA-accessible lock, the Compact 4 Wheeled Brief has all of the toughness and maneuverability of its larger siblings, in a size that's perfect for commuting or traveling. Cost: $495.

Snack security

otter bag incentives 2

OtterBox built its reputation on nearly-indestructible phone cases. Now beach picnics and tailgate noshes get the same level of protection with the OtterBox Trooper cooler. This 20-quart, soft-sided cooler has a wide opening to make packing and unpacking easier. It converts to a backpack for easy toting. Cost: $249.99.

Sound of silence

The new 700 series of over-the-ear headphones from Bose takes noise-cancelling to the next level. This version delivers wireless Bluetooth technology, 11 listening settings, four integrated microphones, easy-to-use controls and even an augmented-reality function. Cost: $399. 

Dapper duffel


Samsonite's understated Mobile Solutions Classic Duffel combines vintage styling with modern materials and features. The water-resistant nylon exterior has a zippered pouch for easy access to passports and other essentials, and the bag slips over the handles of most wheeled suitcases. Cost: $100.

Beast of burden

Yeti's new cooler bag

Yeti's latest line of Hopper soft-sided cooler bags have gotten an upgrade: They now sport magnetic closures and are available in a fresh range of colors. The Hopper M30 has a wide mouth and holds up to 20 cans or 28 pounds of ice (no worries about leaks, thanks to the bag's reinforced seams). Other features include handles and a padded shoulder strap. Cost: $299.99. 

Net benefit

wilson tennis racquet
The new Clash 100 tennis racket from Wilson Sporting Goods

The new Clash 100 tennis racket from Wilson Sporting Goods lets players hit the ball with the precision of a pro, thanks to proprietary technologies like FreeFlex carbon-mapping for flexibility, and an engineered frame to capture energy and translate it into maximum velocity. Cost: $249. 

Laptop porter

The new Synergy Pro Deluxe laptop backpack from Victorinox Swiss Army is like a suit of armor for a laptop, with an extra-secure padded sleeve. The carrier is outfitted with a USB port for charging devices, along with a bevy of pockets and compartments to keep all the essentials for a flight or a long commute close at hand. Cost: $145. 

Coaster conundrum

Woodchuck’s customizable, American-made coaster sets
Woodchuck’s customizable, American-made coaster sets

Woodchuck’s customizable, American-made coaster sets come in your choice of cedar, mahogany or walnut. This new hexagon puzzle set includes six coasters in an attractive angular holder — custom engraving on the front is available. Cost: $50.

Chill chair

Tommy Bahama is a brand synonymous with the good life, so what better way to unwind than with this comfortable seat? The Blue Marlin deluxe backpack beach chair features upscale touches like wooden armrests, and conveniences such as a towel bar and a cooler pouch, all on a roomy, lightweight frame that can adjust to five positions for the ultimate in customizable chill sessions. Cost: $69.50. 

A bartender you don't have to tip

Bartesian from Hamilton Beach Brands on your counter is like having an on-call mixologist. Pods containing pre-measured ingredients for classic cocktails take the guesswork out of mixing a drink — users just have to fill the device's reservoir with the spirits of their choice. Cost: $349.99; pods, $14.99 for a six-pack.