Shutterfly Business Solutions

Return employees to the office with business gifting incentives

Executives are proclaiming that it’s time to bring employees back into the office. But, switching from work-from-home to work-from-work isn’t very popular among most employees. Many studies have validated their opposition to WFW, including “The Great Resistance: Getting Employees Back to the Office” from Stanford University. Its key takeaways include:

  • After more than two years of remote and hybrid working, many employees refuse to return to the office.
  • 42% percent of managers do nothing when employees refuse to come in when requested.
  • Employees frustrated by a bad review from the boss or unhappy with their schedule are having increasing luck landing a new job – sometimes within a day of looking.
  • Managers can implement easy and efficient policies to restore a productive and vibrant in-office work culture.

While the first three takeaways are alarming for employers, the fourth one presents an opportunity. A highly effective gifting strategy from Shutterfly Business Solutions can soften the blow of transitioning back to the office and make employees feel appreciated upon their return. 

What is a personalized gifting program for employees

Before diving into back-to-work strategies, let’s take a moment to explain personalized gifting — because it’s a lot more than providing gift items. 

Sure, Shutterfly Business Solutions gives your organization access to thousands of gift items that can be personalized to each employee with photos, names, logos, mottos, dates, and more. Our depth of personalization — or selection of gifts — is almost limitless. Plus, it’s proven and reliable. Our personalized gifting is powered by the same Shutterfly platform millions of consumers use yearly. 

The Shutterfly platform is the real star of a gifting program. The technology is unique within the industry, supporting and simplifying gifting for managers and employees. 

For gift program managers

The Shutterfly platform is where you control the entire gifting program. It empowers you to select items, segment employees into gifting levels, monitor gift item redemption, and more, like adding/removing staff, starting and pausing the program, or expanding it to provide ongoing employee incentives. The Shutterfly platform even integrates into your databases to deepen personalization opportunities, such as creating automated trigger events like birthday or work anniversary gifts.

For employees

The Shutterfly platform allows employees to shop, select, personalize, and order their welcome back-to-work gifts. Employees can make each item as unique as your program allows, including adding personal photos, names, messages, or favorite colors. You can also opt to limit employees’ ability to personalize. For example, you may only want them to add their name alongside a company logo or brand design. In either case, the Shutterfly platform handles it all. 

There are a lot of ways to welcome employees back

Welcoming employees back requires a strategy rather than a copy-and-repeat process. Your organization, employee, and situation is unique. Treat it as such and strategize a program that makes your employees feel seen, respected, and appreciated. Typically, that starts with personalization. The more a message is tailored to the recipient, the more it resonates. The Shutterfly platform offers organizations one of the most robust technologies available, providing the deepest levels of personalization. 

Using the Shutterfly platform, strategies, and expertise, Shutterfly Business Solutions empowers human resources professionals to create a highly personalized welcome-back gifting program that meets budget challenges and creates future opportunities for recognition and retention.  

A starting strategy for creating your back-to-office strategy

  1. Involve Shutterfly Business Solutions as early as possible. More time creates more options. That said, we can provide a personalized welcome back-to-the-office gift for your organization in weeks.
  2. Set your return date and provide ample time for people to prepare. Most organizations make the announcement via email, but a personalized and mailed greeting card adds a touch of appreciation and importance to the message. 
  3. Explain why your organization is moving and support it with data when possible. 
  4. Have the personalized gifts arrive on the day people return to the office. They will help brighten the day.
  5. Continue to add in-office incentives, like department lunches, morning doughnuts, or other simple but appreciated touches. 
  6. Deliver a “We Love Seeing You Again” gift 100 days after the return to work gift. Consider this a celebration to make the transaction back to the office successful. It also rewards employees who show loyalty by staying with the company.  

Lastly, be prepared for negativity. Even the best welcome-back strategy will be met with some level of resistance. Employees give up a lot when they return to the office. Be respectful of their emotions. Working from home saved them time, money, stress, and more. Losing those perks isn’t an easy change. By this point, some employees may even feel they have earned the right to work from home. They could see this change as a sign of distrust. 

How employers benefit from a welcome back to the office gifting strategy 

The mood of employees shapes their performance and your organization’s results. While some employees will welcome a return-to-work mandate, it may trigger anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Making the change as welcoming as possible will help mitigate some of those challenges. 

Caring for employee well-being will also help retain them as employees. Organizations should expect some staff to resign in hopes of finding a new work-from-home opportunity. However, a welcome-back strategy with business gifting may limit that impact. Not only is that good for operational continuity, but maintaining employees also saves money. A Society for Human Resource Management study reported it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to replace them. That proves there is a clear cost-saving benefit to consider. 

Retaining employees isn’t a one-and-done operation. We strongly suggest checking in with them at the 3-, 6-, and 12-month marks after returning to the office. This check-in shows ongoing concern for well-being and helps boost morale. For those reasons, we also advise a 100-day welcome-back celebration gift.

Can a welcome back to the office gift make a difference?

Absolutely yes, a welcome-back gift will make a positive impact — but it’s also not going to turn dissent into joy. Gifting is one part of a successful back-to-the-office strategy. 

Why does gifting work? Employee gifts are a proven strategy and a powerful incentive. They have been used to reward all kinds of business goals, including performance, retention, accomplishment, appreciation, and more. As of 2022, Forbes reports that companies set aside $50-150 per employee for gifting. If that seems high, don’t worry. Shutterfly Business Solutions can get your cost per gift down to around $20 per employee. 

What welcome back to the office gift strikes the right note?

Choosing a great welcome back-to-the-office gift will depend on knowing your organization and staff. No matter what you choose from the Shutterfly Business Solutions catalog, you’ll want it personalized. That level of detail makes all the difference. It elevates the perceived value and the recipient’s degree of appreciation. 

Some popular items that may make moving back to the office more enjoyable include:

  • Coffee mugs
  • Desk organizers
  • Laptop bags
  • Luggage tags
  • Mouse pads
  • Notebooks/notepads/journals
  • Tote bags
  • Tumblers
  • Water bottles
  • Wireless chargers

When selecting gifts, it’s also helpful to consider the employee’s role and needs. For example, a department that rarely works at its desk may love a tote bag but not need a desk organizer. Also, noise is a big issue when returning to the office. People have grown accustomed to their quiet homes and may not like the hustle and bustle of the office. In those cases, noise-canceling headphones would be an intelligent solution. 

It’s also wise to consider that different levels of employees may warrant different gifts. Your most valuable, longest-tenured, and highest-earning employees expect — and likely deserve — more premium items. Ultimately, the ideal return employees to the office gifting program have multiple items at multiple price points to meet the situation of the recipient and the organization.

Going beyond a return to office strategy 

Your return-to-the-office employee gifting program can and should go beyond its initial purpose. Ideally, it transitions into an ongoing employee gifting strategy. That achieves many of the same benefits, including longer retention, improved job satisfaction, increased morale, and greater productivity. 

Working with Shutterfly Business Solutions, we’ll help you build a scalable and expandable program. Your organization’s employee gifting strategy can include moments such as:

  • Birthdays
  • Company celebrations
  • Holidays
  • Onboarding
  • Professional accomplishmentsPromotions
  • Significant life events (marriage, new child, new home, relocation, etc.)
  • Work anniversaries

When considering an employee gifting program, it’s important to understand that a gift can be as simple as a personalized card. Shutterfly Business Solutions handles card personalization for all kinds of moments and reasons. We can provide the templates and designs or upload your creations. Plus, we handle all the delivery work. 

Including cards in your employee gifting strategy creates a flexible, personal, low-cost, high-impact deliverable. Plus, it provides a new channel for delivering significant messages. 

Use business gifting to help return employees to the office with Shutterfly Business Solutions

Welcome your employees back to the office and take the first steps to improve morale with a business gifting program from Shutterfly Business Solutions. We’ll help you create a program that suits your situation and budget and creates opportunities for future scalability. Using employee gifting within a return-to-work strategy can even mitigate employee defection, saving substantial recruiting and onboarding time for new staff. 

Of course, corporate gifting is only one of the offerings. Shutterfly Business Solutions has thousands of additional insights, strategies, and solutions ready to deploy. Our expertise, scalability, and nationwide presence maximize your communications and achieve business goals, like automating marketing programs. 

Let’s discuss how Shutterfly Business Solutions can improve your omnichannel communications in business gifting, direct mail, transactional mail, greeting cards, and books

Capitalize on Shutterfly Business Solution resources and workflows to solve your communication challenges. 

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