At this point, time is running short. Here's a short list of high-tech presents--from inexpensive to high end--that show your employees you care.
If you're planning to give your employees a holiday gift this year you might as well get on it. And, just to get this out of the way: you can certainly do better than a gift card for the folks who are probably spending more time at work than with their families. Here are five solid options ranging from inexpensive to high-end that are sure to make your employees feel appreciated.
More than half the U.S. population is overweight--one reason employer health insurance rates continue to climb and so many company wellness programs encourage workers to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Withings Pulse is a discreet activity tracker you can clip to undergarments or stash inside a pocket. It wirelessly syncs with a beautiful iPhone or Android app that communicates and stores history over time regarding several metrics: pulse, steps taken, elevation climbed, distance traveled, and calories burned. Withings Pulse also comes with a wristband that holds the accelerometer on your wrist to monitor the quality and duration of your sleep. Price: $99.95 at Withings.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10
You don't need to spend $499 for the cheapest new iPad when Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 10 is more than $200 less, packed with a battery that won't die for 18 hours, and capable of charging other devices. Other nice features include a kickstand that lets you tilt or stand the tablet while making it more comfortable to hold as well as front-facing speakers and 5.0M rear and 1.6M front cameras. If celebrity endorsements matter to you, a Lenovo spokesperson says the company brought Ashton Kutcher on as a "product engineer" to develop and market the Yoga line of tablets, providing input and decision-making into design, specs, software, and usage scenarios. Runs Android 4.2. Price: $280 at Amazon.
Livescribe 3 Smartpen
This ballpoint pen pairs with your iPhone or iPad so that when you write on special Livescribe paper your notes instantly sync with the Livescribe+ mobile app where you can convert them to text, apply tags, send them to others, and turn them into reminders, calendar events, or contacts. Bluetooth Smart technology (compatible with iPhone 4S and higher and iPad 3rd generation and higher) results in a battery that can stay alive for 14 hours. An infrared camera on the pen discerns when you touch the ballpoint to a special section of the paper that tells your iPhone or iPad to record audio, as well. Price: $149.95 at Livescribe.
Every office worker should have noise cancelling headphones for cranking out work. Bose's first in-ear headphones offer two modes--full-on noise reduction or aware mode that lets in some outside sound. Unlike over-ear noise cancelling headphones that typically hide the battery behind bulky ear cups, Bose located the rechargeable battery--which takes two hours to charge and plays music for 16 hours--in a slim control panel at the end of the audio cable. Price: $299.95 at Bose.
It's a dongle that lets you wirelessly stream content from your phone, tablet, or computer--such as video from YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus as well as music from Pandora and Google Play--to your TV. You can also beam over Chrome tabs from a Mac or PC, meaning you can see on your TV virtually anything on the Internet. To use Chromecast you just plug it into the HDMI slot on your TV and connect it to your WiFi network. Price: $35 at Google.
CHRISTINA DESMARAIS is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech startup community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com. @salubriousdish