Study: Remote Workers Want ‘Cool’ Merch

  • Oct 14, 2020

More than 9-in-10 newly hired remote workers who received company-branded merchandise as part of the onboarding process felt that their new employer welcomed them effectively.

The survey additionally found that the most popular merch items to receive were t-shirts and other apparel; water bottles; journals, notebooks, and other paper stationery; pens; and coffee mugs.

When recently hired remote workers were asked what swag items they’d most like to receive. This chart shows the results.

Conducted in conjunction with CensusWide, the study surveyed 1,005 responders in the United States who had a job change or were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic and found a new job working remotely. The data aimed to give a picture of what is effective and what isn’t when it comes to onboarding, employee satisfaction and more at a time when remote working has soared as a practice amid the pandemic.

Notably, for promo products professionals, the study determined that 34% of surveyed remote workers said that “cool swag” was something they’d like to receive upon hiring. Still, only a little over a quarter actually received it. That could suggest there’s more opportunity for promo distributors to bring value to clients through onboarding merch initiatives.

Data from the study showed that more than a third of newly hired remote workers would like to receive “cool swag.” Reimbursed team lunches and introductions to each team member were also among the top desired needs/wants from new remote workers. 

Meanwhile, the survey found that 91% of remote workers who received logoed merch upon being hired believed their employer did well in bringing them aboard. While the finding doesn’t mean swag alone clinches a successful onboarding, it suggests that promo products have an important role to play and are part of an effective holistic approach to remote employee integration, the data indicates.

The survey analyzed more than swag. It found that a variety of activities were well-received by new employees, including virtual happy hours, trivia games, and a buddy system, which were appreciated by 86.5%, 88% and nearly 89%, respectively. In each case, the employee chose that their company was either very successful or somewhat successful at welcoming them to a new role.

‘Cool swag’ was among the offerings that remote workers appreciated, the study found.

The study also found that 48% of remote employees agree that transparency from company leadership is essential to feeling a strong sense of job security during the pandemic. Another 47% also said that they wanted to hear from CEOs, leadership and others about how the company was being affected by current events, and what was being done to protect the business, including their position. Nearly 4-in-10 (38%) said their company needed to do more to keep employees informed.

This means that despite the fact that over half of employees want their company to communicate clearly about the effect of the pandemic, over a third feel their company isn’t doing enough or should do better.


By Christopher Ruvo, ASI