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Adding gift boxes to your staff virtual events

Today we’re looking at how you can use gift boxes to spice up your virtual events, engage your staff and build a positive culture even when people can’t meet face-to-face.

Building team spirit and culture with virtual events

Over the last 18 months we’ve all got used to working remotely. And it’s true that for many industries, it’s possible to be just as productive when we all work from home. But we also need to acknowledge that something is missing.

Friday night drinks via the computer monitor just isn’t the same. And if you’re talking about the annual sales conference, the gap is even greater!

Not only are staff tired of being onscreen all day, many are also tired from juggling work and parenting. Research suggests many are working longer hours from home than they did when in the office – it’s harder to switch off.

So how do you prevent burnout, build team relationship and keep the mood positive?

  • Hold virtual events for your staff within office hours. Respect that they are already juggling work and home, that you shouldn’t take up any more of their time. A lunch or a Friday afternoon timeslot can work really well.

  • Use a gift box as one tool to retain and engage staff, so you can keep them excited during a lock down or a virtual event.

Using gift boxes before, during and after the event

Start off by telling everyone they're going to get a gift box. This makes it part of the event experience.

Everyone loves to get parcels in the mail. We all love opening and unpacking boxes – even when we know what’s in them. There are even whole YouTube channels dedicated to ‘unboxing videos’. Most of these are aimed at kids, it’s true, but most adults still have a bit of child in them.

You can decide whether to tell everyone what’s in the box or not. If they don’t know, there’s more curiosity and intrigue, which can increase excitement about your event.

When to send your event gift boxes

It’s important to send your gift boxes at the right time.

If you send them too early, people will open them in advance and you’ll lose the element of surprise. If you send them too late, they might not arrive in time.

We recommend sending by courier a week in advance of your event.

You want people to be tempted to open the gift box, but no to give in to that temptation. Then you can have a scheduled unpacking as part of the event.

But some people succumb to temptation! We’ve done some creative things like double-boxing the gift box. So those people who do open the box find there’s another box inside it. That second box usually has a message like ‘Don’t unpack me until the event’. Depending on your company culture, you can make that message as cheeky or serious as you like. We’ve had some great stories out of double-boxed virtual event gift boxes.

What to put in your event gift boxes

There are plenty of options for things to put in your gift boxes. It depends on your budget and your goals.


Giving everyone something to wear at the event is a great way to make them feel like they’re part of the experience.

A t-shirt is one option, but if you choose this, make sure you know the right sizes for people. Also, they may want to open it up in advance rather than have to put it on in front of camera.

The easiest thing to do is a cap with the company logo. One size fits all and there are no modesty issues.

Or consider a branded water bottle. It suggests you’re thinking about their health.

Or try something fun and light-hearted. A Hawaiian lei can do wonders to break the ice and make everyone relax. It’s immediately festive and fun.

Drinks and nibbles

There are plenty of options here and they are always popular with staff. Your choice depends on your budget, your company culture and the timing of your virtual event.

If you’re doing a lunchtime or afternoon conference type event, some tea is a great option. Pair with biscuits, chocolate or nibbles. If you’re hosting an virtual awards night, consider getting everyone to dress up and send them something like champagne or a bottle of wine.

Something work-related for use at the event

If your virtual event includes some learning activities, try putting a worksheet in the gift box. It’s easy to brand, it’s useful, it’s something that all your staff can unpack and open at the same time to build community. And it feels far better for them than having to print out loads of pages on their own printer at home.

Something fun for the virtual event itself

Although you’re sending everyone the same box, there are options to introduce some variety. For example, you could send bingo cards and play bingo as one session of your event. Or you could include an envelope with lucky numbers and do a prize draw.

Something for use after the event

This could be anything like bookmarks, thank you cards or recipe cards. It’s something your team can use in their homes afterwards.

The trick here is to have something which will be useful, but to incorporate your branding, so that your staff see it and continue to get a positive feeling about you.

Courtesy of

Making the gift box part of your virtual event experience

Let’s go back to that earlier point – people love unpacking boxes and gifts.

If you pack your box cleverly, you can make unpacking it part of the event program – either everything at once, or certain things just as they’re needed. So for example you might put the cap or lei on top and get them to unpack that and put it on right at the start. Then you can have a workbook for a hard-thinking session, then a cup of tea and nibbles for the break.

What does your ideal virtual event gift box look like?

You should have some good ideas by now about what you can put in a gift box and how it can take your virtual event to the next level.

Of course, what you can include depends on your budget – we’ve seen gift boxes from $50 to over $300 each. But the most important thing isn’t the cost. It’s more about building the whole gift box experience into the event design so that you get the maximum return on your investment.

That’s something we have a lot of experience with, so please give us a call and we can talk over a few ideas.


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