How to Give the Best Remote Employee Gifts This Holiday Season
November 8, 2023
With the holiday season upon us, it's time to start thinking about employee gifting. When you think of corporate America and Christmas, you might see visions of the traditional office party, an Ugly Sweater contest, a festive in-person soiree, and maybe even some teamwide Secret Santas flash before your eyes.
(And if you listen closely, you can just hear Mele Kalikimaka softly playing beneath the hum of lightly buzzed coworkers making small talk around the punch bowl and cheese trays.)
The fact is that it’s important to show appreciation for your hard-working crew, and ‘tis the season to show gratitude for the people close to you. But while all of this might seem merry and bright, there is one major hurdle a lot of founders, CEOs, and HR teams face this time of of year—how do you include remote teammates in the festivities?
With the rise of remote work, it’s been tough to continuously find creative ways to include remote employees in any office events (and it’s a hurdle that’s not toppling any time soon as 97% of people want some form of remote work, whether that’s full-time or hybrid).
One great solution? Intentional employee gifts. From swag to thoughtful goods and meaningful messages, e-gifting is a unifying resource for any business with remote employees. While your team may be spread across the country, inclusion through thoughtful gifts is your ticket to a successful and memorable holiday season.
The Rise of the Remote Workforce (and What That Means for Your Corporate Culture)
We know this point has headlined thousands of stories since 2020, but there’s been a significant increase in the number of remote workers — a trend that the pandemic poured lighter fluid on then tossed a billion lit matches. Companies are realizing the benefits of allowing employees to work from home, such as increased productivity, improved accessibility and inclusion, and reduced overhead costs. However, with the rise of remote work comes new challenges, especially when it comes to creating a positive company culture of unity.
While working from home (or coffee shop or nomadic van or…) has its benefits, things like traditional office parties and in-person gift exchanges may not be feasible for remote workers, which is why finding alternative ways to show appreciation for them is crucial. Remote employees play a vital role in your company's success, and it's important to make them feel valued and included, especially during the holiday season.
A lot of tools have blasted onto the scene since early 2020 with the goal of bringing together scattered teams. For instance, Zoom saw a 30x increase in downloads compared with 2019, and Slack saw user headcount grow by 6 million in that same span. In nutshell, most companies scrambled to build a new stack of tools that would bring their teams together in this new normal (ugh, we know, we hate this phrase, too).
Finding the tools to manage projects and chat with each other is one thing, but finding solutions that glue the squad together during events, holidays, and celebrations is a whole different beast.
These are the events where memories are made, and there are so many intangibles in play, such as speaking to each other more deeply than water cooler chatter and picking up on sensory experiences like the themed cocktail or unforgettable cookies. What used to be a matter of ordering everything — snacks, swag, gifts, notecards — to one place is now a matter of getting the same experience to hundreds of people in hundreds of different places.
By tapping into a modern employee gifting tool, you can easily align with the modern workspace and send thoughtful gifts to your remote workers no matter where they are located in just seconds. This not only boosts employee morale but also helps to foster a positive corporate culture, increase employee retention, and smash unicorn status (or whatever your company goals may be).
Why Showing Appreciation for Remote Employees Is Priceless
As an HR manager, founder, CEO, or general overseer of people at your company, you may wonder if it’s really that important to show appreciation for your remote employees. They seem happy enough, right? After all, they may be physically distant, and it's not as easy to engage with them compared with employees in the office, but that’s how they like it, right??
When it comes to your team — in-person, remote, or hybrid — it's crucial to recognize the hard work and dedication of your entire workforce, especially during the holiday season.
Employee appreciation is vital for boosting morale, increasing productivity, and fostering a positive corporate culture. It’s a key ingredient to fostering an outstanding employee experience today. In a time when employees place less value on ping pong tables and basic health care and more value in things like authenticity, engagement, belonging, and connection, tapping into the right tech to help you out is vital.
Invest the time to show your remote employees that you care and appreciate them, and you not only enhance their job satisfaction but also strengthen your company's overall success and street cred. Putting a wedge of your budget toward thoughtful, intentional employee gifts is a foolproof way to show your appreciation and make your remote employees feel valued and included in all the holiday festivities.
So, What Do You Give to Remote Employees?
Now that you know the whys behind sending gifts to your whole team, near and far, it’s time to tackle the what. It’s daunting to think of picking out a present that:
Is easy to ship.
Isn’t hard to source.
Is in the budget (while being high-quality).
That’s a tall order, truth be told. Swamped with indecision, most people in your position (erm, people in charge of sending gifts to everyone for the holidays) panic and go for the easiest option out there: gift cards.
Gift cards definitely have their time and place in Corporate America. They can be effective when saying “thanks!” to prospects for coming to a demo. They’re convenient li’l pick-me-ups or surprises. And a DoorDash gift card is the undeniable king for a coworker who’s grieving a loss.
But for milestones like the holidays or celebrations where showing authentic appreciation is key, a gift card just kinda…misses the mark. The last thing you want to do at the end of another successful year of business, where joy and gratitude are at peak levels, is see your squad off into the new year with a gift that falls flat, or, worse, offends them.
So, what do you send your spread out staff? When you sit down to find the perfect gifts for your remote employees, settling for the easiest gift for you to send is not always the best move. It's important to consider their individual interests and preferences. After all, you want to show them that you value them as individuals and appreciate their hard work — not just check a box off your to-do list.
One idea is to create personalized gift baskets based on each recipient’s hobbies or interests. For example, if you know someone loves coffee, you could include a selection of gourmet coffee beans, a new coffee mug, and some delicious treats to enjoy with their morning brew.
You could also think about sending care packages filled with self-care items like bath bombs, face masks, and scented candles. These gifts show that you care about their well-being and want them to take time for themselves. Make their 5-9 the best it can be, eh?
There’s also a seemingly endless catalog of food people love to pick from. From universal crowd-pleasers like artisanal chocolates and cookies to gourmet licorice and meat, food is an especially memorable gift to get.
And beyond purely tangible goods, consider gifting an experience. Puzzles, movie nights, cooking or craft kits — all of these are options that have an impact beyond the unboxing.
How to Personalize E-Gifts While Sticking to Your Budget
When it comes to corporate gifting of any kind, it's important to find a balance between personalization and sticking to your budget. Luckily, there are several strategies you can use to personalize e-gifts while keeping costs under control.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to personalize gifts is to include a handwritten card with each gift. Taking the time to physically sit down and write out a heartfelt message shows that you care and goes a long way in making the gift feel special.
Additionally, lean into an employee gifting platform that offers a range of options at different price points. These tools often provide curated gift options that can be personalized, allowing you to find the perfect gift within your budget. When you gift with Zest, adding a personalized message is baked into the gifting experience that’s perfect for scaling your gift orders.
Remember, it's not always about the price tag of the gift you give, but rather the thought behind it. Every touchpoint adds up, and by taking the time to understand your remote employees and utilizing the right tools, you can personalize e-gifts while sticking to your budget and still give the best gifts for your employees this holiday season.
E-gifts: A Modern Way to Send Holidays Gifts to a Modern Workforce
Gifting can be one of the greatest ways to connect with your coworkers, but it can also be one of your most time-consuming tasks in Q4. As you coordinate and send e-gifts to your remote employees, efficiency could make or break the moment (and your sanity). Unless sitting in a sea of boxes and packing peanuts and trying to keep track of addresses and tracking numbers is your jam, we have some time-saving tips for you.
Like we mentioned, tapping into a gift sending tool or corporate gifting platform is a guaranteed tactic to streamlining your holiday gifting. For example, Zest has a curated marketplace of thousands of gifts from popular brands that’s ready for you to shop. Each gift box, tasty snack, and stocking stuffer is ready to gift in just a few clicks. Having a catalog of favorite gifts at the ready takes the stress and decision fatigue off your shoulders.
Plus, a modern gifting tool handles the most tedious part of the process — collecting recipient addresses. As your company grows, the harder it can be to keep track of addresses, especially as people move and addresses change. And after the gift ships? Zest’s dashboard keeps track of every prezzie’s tracking status.
After your shopping is wrapped up, all you need to worry about is uploading your list of lucky recipients, personalizing your gift note, and settling on how you want to send your gift links to every employee for easy redemption. Once your gift links are created, you can share them in an email, a text message, a DM, a QR code slipped into your handwritten holiday cards — the options are endless. Digital gift delivery with Zest is as flexible as your company.
More time-saving tidbits include:
When you have a long list of recipients, opt for a gifting tool that has a bulk recipient uploader. No matter your gift delivery method, uploading all your employees with a swift and simple CSV could save you hours.
Schedule your gifts ahead of time. Whether you opt for shipping gifts directly to your employees as a surprise on their doorstep, letting your gifting tool send emails, or your own digital gift link delivery plan, scheduling your gifts to ship or gifts links to send ahead of time will cross off some major stress from your to-dos and stave off any last-minute scrambling.
Think about batch processing your gift orders. Rather than sending out individual gifts one by one, try to consolidate orders and send them in bulk. This can save you time and may even result in cost savings on shipping.
Don't forget to plan your follow-up ahead of time. Once your gifts are deployed, keep the lines of communication open with your employees. Let them know when to expect their gifts and have tracking information on hand if anyone asks. This helps build anticipation and prolongs excitement, making the gift-giving experience even more enjoyable.
By following these time-saving tips, you can streamline the gift-sending process and make your remote employees feel appreciated without overextending yourself (and spiking your stress).
Making Your Remote Employees Feel Appreciated This Holiday Season
The holiday season is the perfect time to show your remote employees how much you appreciate them. By sending thoughtful gifts, you’re doubling down including every one of your employees and showing them they’re valued, even from a distance. (Bonus points if you tap into a modern gifting tool that aligns with when, how, and where they work outside of your HQ’s walls.)
Sending gifts in a way that is convenient and efficient for both you and your employees benefits everyone. Utilizing a corporate gifting tool or platform can streamline the process, providing you with pre-curated options and taking care of shipping and tracking. This saves you time and effort, while ensuring that your gifts arrive in a timely manner.
Even when you can't celebrate together in person with the people who make your company hum, gifting is one powerful way to make your remote employees feel appreciated this holiday season.
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