Why Your Distant Team Needs Company Swag

In the most recent episode of our podcast, Luis was joined by Shauna Moran from Operate Remote to discuss how remote team members can be better integrated into corporate culture. As Shauna explained, when she began working at Shopify, she was greeted with a welcome package that contained ‘swag’ – items such as branded t-shirts and other merchandise – to make her feel more connected with the company.

As an employee of the firm, I was recently sent a ‘culture drop’ which contained a number of items displaying the company’s logo; a t-shirt, mug, mouse pad and stress ball, along with a bottle of spicy sauce. This package gave me a great insight into the organisation I was joining, but more importantly, it showed that I was valued by the company. Receiving this package was an incredibly heartwarming experience.

It is a valid and pertinent question to ask why businesses are investing in sending gifts to their distributed workforces. It may appear to be a waste of money, and it is understandable to be curious about what leads to a once-great civilisation declining. Let us endeavour to find some answers to these queries.

Exactly why is it crucial for distributed teams to have a shared company culture?

A decade ago, it was uncommon to overhear anybody discussing company culture. Now, the phrase is everywhere. It’s rise to prominence came about as recruiters tried to attract first millennials and then Generation Z to the workplace. The theory being that those groups of people value the culture of the company they work in more than previous generations.

In search of a more accurate description, “business culture” can be described as “indescribable” – to employ a term from the film Good Omens. It is not so much a reflection of a company’s branding (although it may be linked to it) as it is a representation of the working environment. What are the expectations and principles that prevail in this setting? How can we predict the outcomes?

Having a unique element that sets your company apart can be beneficial in a variety of ways. This could include anything from developing a global recycling scheme to introducing a regular ‘Team Taco Tuesday’ event. It is important to ensure that your company’s mission statement is being upheld and reflected in any initiatives, as well as having a commitment to donating to a charitable cause. Additionally, it may be beneficial to celebrate variety and to remember the past in order to create a strong sense of identity amongst your employees. Finally, it is worth considering putting faith in your staff and allowing them to choose their own working schedules.

Having a clear and well-defined organisational culture can bring a range of benefits, such as increased employee engagement. This connection between the workplace and the feeling of being part of a family is a fundamental human requirement, ranked only behind those of survival, such as food, water, and safety. When individuals feel they belong, it has a positive and uplifting effect on their happiness, engagement, and productivity, which in turn can help an organisation to retain its best talent.

The success of a brand is not only dependant on the quality of its products and services, but also on its own distinct identity and culture. Developing a strong, positive corporate culture is of paramount importance in the current climate of #MeToo and the downfall of many large corporations due to their toxic internal environments. Having the right culture can help to bolster the credibility of your brand and ensure it stands out from the competition.

Behaviors and Culture in Distant Groups

Creating a feeling of community is vital with remote teams. If you work with others in a co-located space, you’re bound to have a lot in common with your co-workers. You’ll sit in the same queues of traffic, maybe support the same sports team. Your kids might go to the same schools.

Due to the fact that colleagues may be located in different parts of the world, it is essential that remote teams invest time in creating a shared identity. Company culture is the foundation of our guidance for developing a sense of community. Therefore, this should be a priority for any organisation with remote staff.

How Do You Create an Excellent Culture Drop?

Is there anything you can do to infuse motivation into your remote workers? Of corporate culture? There are as many answers to that as there are companies. It helps to go back to basics and understand how your company culture came together in the first place.

Identify Yourself.

It is evident that the culture within an organisation is heavily influenced by the nature of the firm’s activities. When considering the origins of this culture and the items they may sell, a prime example can be found within the shipment box. The bottle of spicy sauce, which was sourced from a provider renowned for their “hot” blog posts, was a fitting metaphor for the task I was asked to undertake for their client; namely to bring an exciting flavour to the existing data.

One way to bring the history of your firm to the present day is to create a connection between the neighborhood where your home office is located and your workers. This could range from something as simple as a baseball cap showcasing the local team or a cup of coffee from a neighborhood roaster, to a candle with an urban scent. These small touches can help to bring a sense of the area’s character into the homes of your employees, providing a connection to the time when your company was founded.

The Question Is, “For What Do You Stand?”

How do you cultivate a business culture based on shared values? Reflect that in a package delivered to remote workers? Branded merchandise can help here, with a reusable coffee cup or water bottle made from recycled material.

Perhaps your organisation has lofty goals for its fundraising efforts. If so, send your remote staffer information about the causes you support and connect them with ways to get involved. There are online challenges such as virtual marathons like this one for Diabetes UK, or the Ration Challenge which people around the world can sign up to and be a part of
something bigger, together.

Communicate Your Goals

It is essential to consider the long-term objectives of the business when striving to create a successful and productive remote working environment. Referencing the organisation’s mission statement is a great way to inspire a shift in culture, as it can provide all remote workers with a clear direction as to the overall purpose of the company. A simple way to keep the message alive is to provide employees with some form of physical representation of the company’s logo; such as a mug, post-it notes or a mouse pad. This will ensure that the mission statement remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

In Addition, You Should Also Think About

When it comes to resolving conflicts, we often highlight the significance of open lines of comes to remote teams. One way you can reinforce the message about staying in touch is to include something that makes that easy or fun. As a fun example, you could send some selfie props and ask your new team member to use them creatively and share an introductory pic with the rest of the team. A headset with mic is a useful addition to any remote team members kit.

It is worth considering how the kit’s contents could be used to promote team spirit and solidarity among your team members. By providing your team with outlets such as a Facebook page, Google hangout, or Slack chat, they will be able to interact and show off their new kit. You could even go a step further and award a prize to the individual who uses their mug in the most imaginative way. Ultimately, as long as it encourages a sense of mutual support and collaboration between members of your team, it will have been a successful venture.

Drops Constantly Reoccurring

We trust that you now see the value of submitting your new staff a culture drops to help with the onboarding process. But why stop there? Stay in touch and reinforce those messages with regular mailouts that reinforce the feeling of belonging.

We should consider introducing an employee recognition award system, where we reward the employee of the month who best embodies the company’s values and goals. This award could be proudly displayed as part of their work video conference call setup during team meetings. The award does not need to be elaborate or expensive – a simple postcard or card-printable DIY kit would suffice.

To commemorate a year of someone’s life, it is a common practice in the workplace for an envelope to circulate, asking each member of the team to contribute a small monetary amount and sign it. This responsibility then lies with one individual to organise the cake or present, which can be done remotely if necessary.

It’s as before, only this time the faraway individual is collecting money through PayPal and uses it to order a cupcake delivery from bakery local to the birthday boy or girl or orders a gift online to be delivered in good time. In essence, think about all the ways that your culture is expressed with office-based staff and try to come up with a virtual equivalent.

Pristine Constituent

Our whole workday is dedicated to finding the most qualified removal technicians from all around the world with great opportunities. We’ve seen a lot of different remote work setups and we know what makes them successful. We do our best to share that with everyone, via this blog.

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