As we roll into 2021 (still in sweatpants from my home office), I look back at 2020 and think about what a long and crazy road it’s been. Things that happened in February and March seem like ages ago. Driving across town to the office every day and interacting with countless people – such a foreign concept now. 2020 was truly a year of adapting and that was something we all got really good at. But it wasn’t easy.
We are fortunate that our industry allows us to rather seamlessly transition to a fully remote workplace. Within a matter of days, both of our physical offices, and 75+ employees all began to work from our homes. Little did we know, we’d still be here almost a year later.
As we settled into our new normal, and things around us continued to change, we had to adapt. How do we keep our customers engaged? What is a virtual tradeshow? How do we keep up our company culture while all being far apart? What about new employees?
We’ve learned a lot over the last year and had our fair share of successes as a company – even with the curveballs thrown our way. We onboarded 30+ full time employees virtually and adapted a variety of processes to work remotely. But one of the best things to come out of 2020 is a company culture and morale to be proud of.
Our team embraced the virtual life. We already had a large group of employees that have always worked remotely, and they really paved the way for the rest of us. With their tips and tricks, and armed with Zoom, Slack, etc. we tackled virtual life like champs. As we inched towards to the holidays and the end of the year, the holiday party is something I usually am in charge of planning. Since a big party was out of the question this year, we had to get creative. What can we do in a virtual setting that is fun and interactive for 100 employees and their families while being spread out across the country?
We put together a committee and started brainstorming. The group gave us lots of ideas and feedback and then the marketing team went to work. What resulted was our Holiday Week.
Holiday Week consisted of gifts, fun events, and prizes for all. We started a Holiday Week Slack channel and shipped a box to each employee that included their choice of a themed holiday gift package we put together and all of the items to participate in the activities for the week.
In the spirit of giving, we also had a quarter of our employees request to forego their own gift package and donate the dollar equivalent to a good cause. 2020 had plenty of bumps in the road for many, and our team felt that helping others in need was far more important that a gift for themselves. How awesome is that?! This resulted in a $5,000 donation to the San Antonio and Austin Food Banks. It truly is an honor to work alongside so many amazing people!
Monday of Holiday Week kicked off with a snazzy custom deck of playing cards – some included a special golden ticket that earned you entries for a raffle at the end of the week. Each day of the week, we drew cards, and everyone had one hour to guess what our card was. Every correct guess throughout the week earned them entries into the raffle.
Tuesday, we had a gingerbread decorating contest. Each employee was provided a gingerbread house kit to decorate and get their families involved. As the week went on, there were Holiday Zoom backgrounds and coloring sheets released each day. Midway through the week we hosted a Zoom trivia night/hot chocolate happy hour – hot chocolate bombs included! Each employee and their family teamed up and went head to head to see which household’s random knowledge reigned supreme.
Thursday got the creative juices flowing again and we had a stocking decorating contest and everyone voted for their favorites in the Slack channel. And as the week was coming to a close, we wrapped up with a holiday prize lottery. Everyone got to throw on a festive sweater, hang out via Zoom, and unwind before many went on PTO for a well-deserved break. We spun a big prize wheel and gave out a bunch of fun prizes!
It was no easy feat to orchestrate a week-long celebration and 100 packages for everyone across the country while being at home, but it turned out so much better than we could have ever imagined. Holiday Week ended up being something that brought us together more as a company than any holiday party could have. In years past, it was hard for our remote employees to be involved with our holiday party being so far away. This year, everyone was remote, and everyone got to participate and interact with those they may not have otherwise. With all the new employees we onboarded virtually this year, so many people have never even met. This week gave us the opportunity meet our new team members and for our new team members to really see what Denim Group is all about.
I think our team said it best –
“Seriously, special thanks to the teams working on holiday stuff this year. It’s a weird year, but you guys have set the gold standard for inclusiveness and maintaining a spirit of community in this whole mess”
“Definitely love that we had something to do each day that brought everyone together to participate and joke around. Fun all around. Thank you!”
“Kudos to the Marketing team and everyone who helped make this Holiday week so much fun! Great seeing so many staff actively involved and engaged in the contests.”
“I loved how there were a lot of different ways for people to participate, no matter where we were! I think that now that DG is so much more distributed as we hire people from outside of TX, it’ll be even more important to find ways to include those who aren’t in the immediate area. This was a great event and super well executed.”