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When I became self-employed Self-Employment Works: 6 Tips To Set Up Your First Online Business From Home Self-Employment Works: 6 Tips To Set Up Your First Online Business From Home With the explosion of digital technology and fast Internet speeds, more and more people are looking for a way out of the drudge of the commute and the threat of short-term contracts to work from... Read More and hung out my shingle as a writer back in 2004, all I had was the kitchen table, a hard wooden chair, a cantankerous computer, and my dreams. You may know someone like that.

Someone who quit the corporate ladder to follow their dreams and become a didgeridoo player, and you are wondering what gift to give them. After all, there’s only so many times you can give them a pair of socks.

As usual, the MakeUseOf lifeboat comes steaming to the rescue with 10 perfect gift ideas for the home worker.

1. Book on Working from Home

Let’s start with something simple. A book never goes wrong, and if your home working friend is new to the whole self-employed routine, then it might be a good idea to get them a book on the subject. Something that tells them that clothes are optional, beer is obligatory, and that you arrange work around your breaks, not the other way around.

There's No Place Like Working From Home: Get Organized, Stay Motivated, Get Things Done! There's No Place Like Working From Home: Get Organized, Stay Motivated, Get Things Done! Used Book in Good Condition Buy Now At Amazon $11.43

There are countless books on Amazon on the subject of home working. But may I humbly suggest the above title? I’ve read the Kindle preview and it looks to be quite a good book. And I should know, as I have read a lot of really bad books on the topic of self-employment. Donald Trump’s books instantly spring to mind.

Summary: There’s No Place Like Working From Home ($8.48 Kindle, $15.65 Paperback)

2. Working Music Collection

If you’re a cheapskate, or you like the idea of making a present, then why not make them a burned CD of music that they can listen to, while they build their business empire?

Music has been proven to make you better in performing mental tasks, in what has been termed as the Mozart Effect. Everyone has different tastes, but it would probably be best to give them something calming. Giving them heavy metal is not necessarily going to induce a state of calm that will boost productivity and creativity. Not unless you are Animal from the Muppets.


I would suggest classical music or electronic music, both of which you can find legally and free of charge in abundance online. One which I have only just started listening to is Marco PM, which puts out regular electronic music mixes. If you would rather go the classical music route, then Wikipedia has a huge number of downloadable music files in OGG format.


Buy some CD cases (yes, they still exist) and burn the music onto a disk (yes, they exist too – it’s those things you’re using as drinks coasters). Or alternatively put the music on a USB stick. If you go the CD route, you can easily get appropriate album artwork from Google Images, and with a good color printer, you’ll have a CD made up in no time.

One other option, if music doesn’t appeal, is to go with nature sounds 6 Ways To Make Nature Sounds A Part Of Your Day 6 Ways To Make Nature Sounds A Part Of Your Day Scientific studies have shown that nature sounds can significantly decrease anxiety, stress, and pain. Next time you're bursting from stress, try relaxing to the sounds of nature before automatically popping a pill. Read More  instead. I work to the sound of birds tweeting, and that is extremely relaxing. One good place to look is SoundCloud.

Summary: self compiled mixtape with relaxing music (free – $15); get blank CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, or empty jewel cases on Amazon ($3 – 30)

3. Multi-Port USB Charging Station

OK, enough of the freebies. It’s time to show your home working friend how much you love them. And what speaks love more than a bamboo multi-USB charging station? $45.99 from Amazon in three easy payments. Well, not quite. I am just auditioning for the Home Shopping Channel.

Outtek CS007 40W 5-Port USB Bamboo Charging Station with Apple Watch Stand for Smartphones and Tablets Outtek CS007 40W 5-Port USB Bamboo Charging Station with Apple Watch Stand for Smartphones and Tablets 5 Powered USB Ports (1 x 0.5A ,1 x 1A, 2 x2.1A and 1 x 2.4A ) - Simply connect your own charging cable and this powerful charging station will charge up to 5 devices, including Apple watch, smart phones and high-powered devices such as tablets. Buy Now At Amazon $35.76

This little beauty has 4 USB ports Dead USB Port? Here's How to Diagnose and Fix It! Dead USB Port? Here's How to Diagnose and Fix It! When your USB port stopped working, did you just plug your device into another one? Well, you might need that port one day! The fix could be easy, so let's give it a try. Read More , as well as another one purely for the Apple Watch How to Perform Common iPhone Functions on Your Apple Watch How to Perform Common iPhone Functions on Your Apple Watch Some see the Apple Watch as little more than an expensive Bluetooth remote. That may be so, but you can use it to access a huge number of iPhone features without reaching into your pocket. Read More . The Apple Watch even has its own little shelf at the left hand side.


Just place your device in the charging station (a posh name for a wooden rack), connect the USB cable, and marvel at how organized you have everything.

Summary: Bamboo USB Charging Station ($45.99)

4. Noise Cancelling Headphones

Working from home can be tough. Not only do you have the neighbors calling the police, when you walk in front of your office window sans clothes, but you also have your kids screaming their heads off when they come home from school. Or your significant other comes home from work, and proceeds to make a racket, forgetting that you still need to get that report in to your client. The solution? Noise cancelling headphones.


I am not going to recommend a specific pair here, as there are countless options depending on what you are willing to pay. Obviously, the more you pay, the better the quality. Just have a look on Amazon and choose a pair with good reviews, in your price range.

Summary: Noise Cancelling Headphones ($20 – 300)

5. Massage Set

One of the downsides of sitting in front of a computer monitor all day (apart from too much Facebook checking) are the body pains. Sitting in a chair will eventually make the back cramp up, and even if regular breaks are taken to stand up and move about, body pain of some degree is going to hit the home worker eventually. Enter the Mini Massager set.


Available from Amazon UK for 35 pounds ($53), the page describes this Beuer massage set as being for “the body, head, and face”. After switching it on, it vibrates gently, and it is splash-resistant, so you can use it in the bath!

MG 30 Relax Trio Mini Massage MG 30 Relax Trio Mini Massage Mini Massage Gift Set Buy Now At Amazon

Just picture the scene. Your home working friend is in the bath with their noise cancelling headphones on, applying the massager to their legs, while their devices are charging nearby. What else could we get them? I know…..!

Summary: Massage Set ($6 – 60), e.g. Beurer MG30 Mini Massager Set (£35 from Amazon UK)

6. Tea or Coffee Cup Holder

As anyone who likes to drink within a mile of their keyboard will confirm, strange forces seem to be at work when the keyboard senses fluids nearby.

It doesn’t matter how careful you are not to spill anything over the keyboard You Just Spilled Water Or Coffee On Your Laptop - Here's What You Should Do You Just Spilled Water Or Coffee On Your Laptop - Here's What You Should Do Okay, let's take a deep breath and deal with the emergency first. Any emergency requires us to take a moment or two and assess the situation. That way we aren't just reacting, we are acting... Read More or over that important contract. The cup seems to mysteriously connect with your hand or arm and go flying all over the desk. We home workers know of this syndrome as “Cuppius Spillius”. It’s a very common menace.


The Spink Cup Holder aims to counteract these strange forces by applying a suction cup to your desk, making it extremely difficult to knock it over (unless you the Hulk, in which case you’re pretty much screwed). Place the cup holder where you want it to go, and put your nice steaming hot cup of coffee or tea in it.

Dreamfarm Spink Cup Holder, Black Dreamfarm Spink Cup Holder, Black Fits all sizes of drinks from a can of coke to your favourite takeaway coffee cup or mug Buy Now At Amazon

Currently, Amazon only sells the black or white one, and it retails for $17.95. Cheaper than a new keyboard, I would say.

Summary: Dreamfarm Spink Cup Holder ($17.95)

7. Cable Management System

Despite my best efforts to become cable-free, I seem to collect USB cables all the time. It’s got to the point where I have USB cables growing out of my ears. This means that my desk can get into a tangled mess 5 Ways To Clean Up Computer Cable Clutter Under Your Desk 5 Ways To Clean Up Computer Cable Clutter Under Your Desk Cable clutter is one of technology's biggest annoyances. Today we show you how to organize and arrange the cables under your desk. Read More if I don’t keep everything meticulously organized.

I have been using Blu-Tack to keep things looking neat, but if you would like a more sophisticated option, could I interest Sir and Madam in the iGotTech Cable Clips & Cord Management System? Just in today.


What’s that you say? It’s just a lump of plastic with a dent in it for the cord? Oh, no, no, no, Sir & Madam. You underestimate this hidden little gem. This is a good looking, high quality lump of plastic with a dent in it for the cord. It will look good on any desk, and will keep your cords in strict order (so good for our OCD readers). No more finding the cables on the floor.


The set from Amazon gets you six pieces for a total of 12 cables.

Summary: Blu-Tack adhevisves ($5.42), iGotTech Cable Clips & Cord Management System ($9.87)

8. Bubble Wrap Calendar

If there is one thing designed to incapacitate a normal healthy rational person, it is bubble wrap. The stuff is insidious. You tell yourself you are only going to pop one. After all, what harm could that do? Pop one, then get back to work checking Facebook. But an hour later, you are still popping bubble wrap like a drug addict would snort cocaine.


If this sounds like anybody you know, then make them a happy camper and get them the 2016 Bubble Wrap calendar. They only get to pop one bubble a day, so look upon it as the nicotine patch of Bubble Wrap addicts. Just don’t show them the digital version!

Summary: Bubble Wrap Calendar ($25.99)

9. Relaxing Desk Lamp

If your home-working friend is a Star Wars fan who likes to procrastinate, then they are in luck. Now they can stare into space, looking at the Star Wars lava lamp sitting on their desk (although these ones are called “motion lamps”).


The lamp, shaped like a lightsaber, has a very calming effect that will help your home worker unwind after a lengthy and difficult epic galactic battle. If Darth Vader had sat and looked at a motion lamp, he wouldn’t have lost his temper and called the Rebels “scum”. He would have also picked up the phone and called his kids.

Alternatively, if Star Wars is not part of your giftee’s galaxy, you could get them a more practical desk lamp. For example, flicker- and ghost-free lamps can reduce eye strain, LED bulbs will safe energy, or you could gift a stylish lamp with integrated USB charging ports.

Summary: Star Wars Lava Lamp ($34.99), TaoTronics Eye Caring LED Table Lamp ($39.99), Anker Lumos LED Desk Lamp ($42.99)

10. Gift Cards

We finally end with something which is normally considered to be a bit of a boring and unimaginative present. But in the hands of the home worker, this could be something extremely useful. Which home worker do you know that doesn’t need office supplies? Or that app for their tablet to help them do their job?


You can get vouchers for Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play to name just three, and with those, the home worker can get whatever they need. That way, they get what they actually want, and not be stuck with some ugly expensive present that they don’t want (such as the combined coat hanger and cigarette lighter).

Gift Cards: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft ($5 – unlimited)

What Would YOU Buy the Home Worker?

The above are just ten examples of what you could get someone who works from home. Or perhaps they have inspired another idea? After all, Amazon seems to sell everything you could ever want. But I did have trouble searching for “a date with Uma Thurman”.

What are you planning to buy for the home work commuter?

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  1. Genuine Jobs
    November 26, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    That mini massage set is an absolute must! I think if no one else will, I'll buy it for myself this Christmas !

  2. Anonymous
    November 17, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I've got the headphones (the best noise-cancelling ones - and I don't play music, I'm talking about silence here - need batteries, so a battery-charger and/or some rechargeable batteries makes a good gift), the cable holders (including one which looks like a toast rack for cables coming out of my charging unit - which is just a black box rather than the stylish wood objet d'art above), and the lamp (LED, dimmable, and with a directional head). I have a load of books (but they're all on my Kindle, naturally...), but not the mug holder - I've learned the hard way not to put a mug of anything on my desk so I have a desk-height filing cabinet to one side within arm's reach. Massagers: one massaging eye mask (invaluable) - but I have exercisers. A WristWand, a Powerball, a Neckline (and those are just the ones on the desk - you should see the office...) So, all good (but I wouldn't give you a thank you for a lava lamp; there's retro and there's eternally naff...).

    What else I have, which I wouldn't want to be in the home office without:

    Birdfeeders - hanging outside the window and not only fascinating to watch but also stimulating thought

    Binoculars - a close-up pair (Pentax Papilio if you love someone) for looking at the birds (and squirrels) on the feeders

    A headphone rack - for the aforementioned noise-cancelling heaphones and a separate headset for the telephone; keeps the headphones off the desk and stops the wires tangling

    Labellers - not strictly non-office, but more than useful and I have two: one for paper address labels and the other for Dymo tape (you have to label all those cable holders)

    A SAD lightbox - a little portable one which doesn't take up much room and also incorporates a clock and timer, because we should all get out more - but don't - and if you have to pull an overnighter to keep that deadline you're going to need waking up when everyone else comes back online refreshed after a night in bed

    A digital microscope - again, not strictly necessary for the office and so makes a good gift; technically it's used for getting serial numbers of various valuable items onto a database, less technically I couldn't begin to tell you the uses you can find for a microscope once it's on your desk...

    An incense burner - if you're spending day and night in your home office, the air's going to need help

    Keyboard cleaning tools: soft brushes, air puffers, gummy specialist stuff, wipes - your hands are never away from the thing and it's just so easy to forget and take that first bite over it before...

    Anything which lifts things off the desk (monitor stands, writing stands, tiered file holders, keyboard drawers, pen, pencil, stapler etc. caddies) because, with all the above and work items too, you always need all the space you can get!

    • Tina Sieber
      November 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Great list of ideas. Thank you for sharing, Maryon Jeane!

    • Mark O'Neill
      November 18, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      I think you have just single-handedly written my Christmas present wishlist :-)

      • MaryonJeane
        November 18, 2015 at 7:53 pm

        Your wife is going to be seriously cash-strapped in the new year...

  3. Anonymous
    November 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    One of the best things I ever bought myself for my home office (I work from home two days a week) was a seriously good chair. That's a bit of a personal choice but it's still something I appreciate.

    Other things: Coffee shop gift cards and gym memberships. Because people who work from home still need to get out every once in a while.

    Finally, a bath robe. Because Skype meetings are a lot more professional when you can't see your telecommuting co-worker's bare shoulders.

    • Mark O'Neill
      November 16, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      For me, a bath robe is part of my work uniform! I always joke that I am unable to write anything unless I have the robe on.

      But the chair....yes. I need to buy a new chair. Trouble is that the ergonomic ones are always so expensive.

      • Anonymous
        November 16, 2015 at 7:24 pm

        @Mark ONeill,

        I had one of those Aeron monstrosities in my home office for a couple years. I hated the stupid thing. I never got it adjusted to the point that I was actually happy with it.

        Last year, I went out and actually auditioned a bunch of different chairs. I made special trips to . To my surprise, the big winner was a $120 chair I found at a Costco. For something I use every day, that thing has been an absolute bargain.

      • Anonymous
        November 17, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        In my book, you can't beat the Herman Miller Aeron, even after all these years. I was very lucky, after the dotcom die-off there were lots of nearly-new Aerons around being sold off as companies desperately tried to make some money back on anything which was actually worth something, so I scooped up a fairly high spec one at a good price. However I'd pay the full price tomorrow if I could because it is definitely worth it (how much does your chiropractor charge? how many days can you afford to spend lying flat on your back instead of earning? how many cheap chairs are you going to buy and throw out a couple of years later?). If you think you live in your bathrobe (I call mine a dressing gown, but then I'm a woman...), how many years do you think you're going to be living in your chair?

        • Mark O'Neill
          November 17, 2015 at 6:19 pm

          Oh I totally agree with you. There's just one major obstacle to buying a chair like that - lack of funds!!! ;-)

        • Anonymous
          November 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm

          You could beg, borrow, steal - or try marrying for one perhaps?

        • Mark O'Neill
          November 17, 2015 at 8:47 pm

          Ha! Ha! I am already married, so I think my wife might have something to say about that plan! ;-)