When I joined Nokia, back in 2011, remote working was not really a thing. Neither was swag.
However, that company marked a big change for me because I could visit internal swag shops and purchase from there.
I thought it was cool: wearing garments bearing the logo and the name of the company felt great.
It just leveraged a very common human sentiment: belonging.
Like it or not, as much as we can look at ourselves as detached from boundaries, borders, and groups of any kind, there is an ancestral need within us to aggregate with people that share the same values as us.
And this is exactly what swag is about – excluding of course the free advertising we run for our companies. 😄
Then at Automattic, in 2018, the swag game was upped to a whole next level: there was a welcome pack for the newcomer, containing all sorts of WordPress-branded paraphernalia like sunglasses, scarfs, stickers, plus a couple of books.
But there was even more: every year, all Automatticians (a12s) are given an allowance to “purchase” swag from the internal online store. Hoodies, T-Shirts, onesies for kids, and what have you.
Coming to the year 2022 AD, I have just joined Nebulab and, in addition to all the work equipment sent my way, there was a box containing awesome pieces of swag: one backpack, one hoodie, one tee, one mug, a cap, and more.
Of course, swag cannot change how a workplace turns out to be. Awesome swag won’t sugarcoat a non-compatible environment, while the absence of it will not make a company automatically a bad place.
But let me tell you, receiving a box full of goods has the potential to make us feel more energized; something in our brains triggers, suggesting that the company does care.
Because ultimately, why would they send swag if the turnover rate is high and/or they don’t think the relationship will last?
And we feel like we belong.
Now on with this new journey!