01 Feb, 2023

Keep the Gas Station Flowers and Don’t Be Our 2023 Valentine: Here’s Why

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Keep the Gas Station Flowers and Don’t Be Our 2023 Valentine: Here’s Why

Well, here we are, 2023. The tinsel is collecting dust once more, back where it can do no harm, the fireworks have faded, and TV reruns of Love, Actually have slowed to a reasonable cadence. But, for those who love seasonal gifting and ensemble casts (we’re talking to you, Garry Marshall), love is in the air!

That’s right. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. In regular corporate gifting terms, that means it’s time for HR to roll out personalized team Valentine’s Day cards - and, if you’re lucky, a box of chocolates. 

At Gifted, we don’t deal in regular corporate gifting terms. And that’s (partially) why we’re not asking you to be our Valentine. 

A little time travel, if we may.

Allow us to explain

It’s 2017.

We’re binge-watching Political Analyst and soon-to-be Zoombombing victim Robert Kelly is interviewing on BBC News about relations between North and South Korea. It’s water cooler stuff. Kelly works from home. So, naturally, he’s on Zoom in his immaculately pressed suit and tie. Maybe sweatpants - unconfirmed. 

Kelly fields a question about the regional effects of shifting sociopolitical dynamics. It’s all going great. Until Kelly’s toddler - clad in a cheerful and high-viz yellow sweater - pushes open the door and marches gleefully into the room followed by her infant brother on a wheeled baby walker.  

Then, with ninja-like speed and agility, mom frantically rounds the corner and scoops the kids out of the room, reentering briefly in leopard-crawl to pull the door shut again. You can’t script this stuff. 

The viral clip amassed millions of views and Professor Kelly was affectionately dubbed BBC Dad by the internet. Little did any of us know that, five years later, we would all understand his work environment a lot more intimately. 

While his situation was relatively unique at the time, BBC Dad’s moment of infamous hilarity was a predictive snapshot of how thousands of home offices work today.

The viral scene proved that grave discussions about international politics happen in the same room where toddlers beg for bedtime stories. Sometimes - as with Professor Kelly - they happen at the same time. 

Since the you-know-what-demic, the ‘Zoom bombing’ phenomenon has been largely integrated as par-for-the-course in (brace for it) The New Normal.

But, for what it’s worth, here’s our $0.02 on the now-infamous BBC Dad scene. If you ask us, his kids aren’t intruding on his office; they’re a part of it. 

Allow us to explain… even more 

The point is that the massive advancement of hybrid workforces and remote teams in the last couple of years has given new meaning to the term “invisible workforce”. In homes across the globe, employees work full days without being physically seen or heard by their coworkers. 

Well. They are unheard and unseen by their official coworkers, that is. 

After all, behind these legions of quietly industrious employees is yet another, even less visible workforce. Let’s call them the unemployees.

The unemployees are the cats who make unplanned guest appearances in Zoom meetings, often by way of an uncomfortably intimate close-up of their nether regions. They are the partners and spouses who are (possibly reluctant) participants in weekly sprints, brainstorming sessions, and client meetings simply because of their proximity to the kitchen- uh, sorry, the boardroom. They are the children who come spilling into the frame of a televised BBC interview about Korean politics. 

The unemployees are an essential - if often unrecognized - part of your employees’ lives. Whether it’s Fido listening to the first few drafts of an important presentation or somebody’s partner bringing them a hot cup of coffee and a pep talk before they depart for their own jobs, the unemployees are as much a part of your company’s fabric as your employees. 

Unemployees - will you be Gifted’s 2023 Valentine?

So, here’s a novel idea - this Valentine’s Day, don’t just show your heartfelt appreciation for your employees by sending them a gift. Show your appreciation by gifting their pets, children, or partners in recognition of their essential roles in the home office. After all, nothing engages employees more powerfully than team leaders who make an effort to connect with and understand their world.  

A Valentine’s Day balloon for Sam in accounting? That’s cute. But a Doordash voucher for Sam’s foodie wife who has “packed” Sam’s office lunch for three years running? Well, now you’ve just impressed the CSO (that’s Chief Snack Officer, by the way). That’s a way to engage authentically with your employees. 

In two minutes and $0, you can set up a Valentine’s Day campaign that employees will actually have their hearts set on. No pressure on you, just simple appreciation. It’s genuine, it’s swift. It’s Gifted.

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