gifts they might actually want

41 Gifts Under $50 for Every Type of Co-worker

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Coming up with gift ideas for co-workers — whether they’ve been a longtime desk-mate or you just see them onscreen every week can be challenging. But the general principles remain the same as with any other gift: You’re looking for items that are thoughtful (and affordable) and that they’ll enjoy using. We did the legwork for you and hunted down the best gifts for less than $50 for every type of co-worker, broken down into six categories (and if you’re shopping for something specific, jump ahead using the table of contents). Whether they’re a foodie, an amateur skin-care scientist, or constantly trying to improve their desk space, we’ve found a tried-and-true Strategist favorite they’ll enjoy. We also have guides for the rest of your list — including everyone from tween boys to grandparents.

Food and drink

For the co-worker who’s two coffees in by 9 a.m.

Because their first cup shouldn’t be cold by the time they log on.

For the co-worker who likes to bring lunch from home

This elegant bento box comes in a range of colors, from tasteful, pale pastels to more utilitarian black and olive green. Don’t be surprised if the rest of the office covets it.

For the environmentally conscious co-worker

A good-looking container for stowing scraps.

For the co-worker who loves to cook

This salt is a favorite of chefs and food lovers for its delightfully flaky texture and for being not too salty. “I have a bowl of it out at all times,” says designer John Derian.

For the co-worker who has a stash of rare teas

Bodum Assam Tea Press

This clear teapot will let them admire their drink as it brews.

For the co-worker whose homemade bakes are Great British Baking Show–worthy

This Bundt pan — which cookbook author Vallery Lomas (who happened to win The Great American Baking Show) uses for her pound-cake recipe — is sure to inspire your home-baker co-worker to bring in a cake for your afternoon fika sessions.

For the co-worker who brings instant ramen for lunch

For the co-worker whose favorite food group is chocolate

This pack comes with six different flavors, including nougat, caramel, and sea salt.

For the co-worker who likes their coffee piping hot

This insulated mug’s handle makes it the perfect companion for a commute or walk across the office, and it comes in many fun colors as well as stainless steel.

For the co-worker with a secret condiment stash

$20 for 2

A hot sauce that pro cooks and Strategist staffers love for its well-balanced mix of heat and vinegar.

Self-care and beauty

For the co-worker returning from parental leave

This roller will help them perk up and refresh their eyes after a sleepless night.

For the co-worker who’s always complaining about their aches and pains

These massage balls are eco-friendly, and the perfect source of relief after a few hours on their feet. Hikers, doulas, and tennis players all love them.

For the co-worker battling winter dryness

Weleda Skin Food Original

This moisturizing cream — which has been recommended to us over and over by makeup artists and celebrities — has an ultrarich texture that will help keep their skin dewy and nourished.

For the co-worker who’s training for a marathon

With our favorite foam roller, they can give themselves a deep-tissue massage at home and feel good before and after every run.

For the co-worker who spends their weekends on the trails

These Strategist-favorite wool socks can withstand even the most rugged expeditions.

For the co-worker who’s a frequent flyer

This Dopp kit has plenty of room for even the most rigorous skin-care routine, and it has a nice handle for lugging around.

For the co-worker who bikes to the office

This compact, powerful steamer can de-wrinkle their shirt while they’re changing from their commute attire to their office wardrobe. It’s travel-friendly too.


For the co-worker who always asks to borrow your charger

For the co-worker who does everything on their phone

For the office karaoke star

Photo: retailer

They already have a go-to song, so give them a go-to mic to belt their tunes with. This one has a simple cordless design.

For the co-worker who multitasks

Omoton Adjustable Cell Phone Stand
From $11
From $11

A stand that lets them watch videos or read the news while they eat lunch.

For the co-worker who eats at their desk

A pen-sized brush that will help them clear crumbs from underneath their keys.

For the co-worker who still uses their trackpad

Logitech Pebble

This mouse is tiny enough to carry in a bag on a daily commute, making it a suitable companion for their office desk and work-from-home days.

For the co-worker with a tangled nest of cables

These clips come in a variety of colors to make it easier to tell which cable goes with which device.

For the co-worker who travels light

Having a wallet attached to their phone means one less thing to worry about at the TSA checkpoint.

For the co-worker with some faulty keys

Its keys are comfy to type on, it comes in enough colors to match any desk decor, and it won’t click and clack as they type.

For the co-worker who’s always running late

An old-school watch they can flash when they walk into their next meeting (on time).

For the co-worker whose phone is always running low

This charger also acts as a stand so they can watch videos or keep an eye on their feeds while their phone gets a boost.

For the co-worker who stays up late reading

Now they won’t have to get up and turn the light off before bed.


For the co-worker who desperately needs a new work bag

This Strategist-favorite tote has a shoulder strap plus handles, and a clasp on the top to keep things from spilling out while they get settled at their desk.

For the minimalist co-worker who likes to stay organized

This wooden desk organizer has a large drawer for them to stuff all their office supplies. “Plus, the bamboo helps bring a bit of nature to a sterile office area,” says Daniel Loya of Spaces Transformed.

For the co-worker whose meeting notes are a work of art

Every page of this notebook has a different grid design, so they’ll never run out of inspiration. “This pattern is simultaneously a constraint (because grid) and a mild creative prompt (because variable),” says Strategist contributor Molly Young.

For the co-worker who likes to send a handwritten note

Call Me by Your Name author André Aciman says this is “the Volkswagen of pens with a Jaguar engine.”

For the co-worker who likes to decorate their desk

A vintage-inspired vase that’s a conversation starter.

For the co-worker who needs to kick their feet up to think

For the co-worker who prefers to keep an analog calendar


For the co-worker cutting down on kitchen waste

DII Swedish Dishcloths
From $17 for 3
From $17 for 3

They’re better at cleaning up messes than paper towels, and the cheerful lemon print will brighten their day.

For the co-worker who likes their office green

Even the beginner plant parent can care for this plant, which will look great on their desk. It even comes with a pot.

For the co-worker who just got a dog

The office pup can’t chase squirrels inside, but this may be the next best thing. Former Strategist senior manager of audience development Mia Leimkuhler has given it as a gift several times and says it’s always a hit.

For the co-worker with a playful kitten

This catnip-filled toy can keep their furry pal busy for hours. Nora Wood, adoption event coordinator for Anjellicle Cats, calls the Yeowww! the “best catnip toy” because it’s a great shape for kicking around, sniffing, and snuggling.

For the co-worker who’s taken up birding

They’ll be able to spot the difference between a sparrow and a house finch in no time.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

41 Gifts Under $50 for Every Type of Co-worker