Derby husband-and-wife team welcoming back furloughed workers with Colleague Box
A DERBY husband-and-wife have been inundated with orders for their personalised gift boxes from companies wanting to welcome furloughed colleagues back to the workplace.
Natalie Bamford – founder of the award-winning Derby Days Out - and husband Adam launched Colleague Box, a letterbox gift company, as the Coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, and they have just taken a quote for over a thousand of their Return to Work Treat Boxes – one of the 13 options available to companies wanting to put a smile on the faces of returning team members or those who may still be on furlough.
Customers can choose from the popular Craft Beer Box – which contains three specially-selected beers alongside three perfectly paired premium snacks – the Retro Sweets Box or the popular Return To Work Treat Box; a beautifully packaged parcel containing chocolate, sweets, popcorn, premium tea bags, filter coffee bags and sachets of Clippers hot chocolate wrapped in luxury paper.
Each box comes complete with company branding and a personalised message and while they have been popular with businesses welcoming colleagues back, the gift boxes have also been a huge hit for special occasions. The Gin Box, which contains two miniature bottles of Gordon’s Gin, tonic water, plus Green & Black’s chocolate, and nibbles, was used for a Friday night Zoom meeting.
The initial idea came from Neil Everatt, CEO of cloud-based software company Selenity, which both Natalie and Adam work for.
But Natalie and Adam took Neil’s original concept and reimagined it.
Natalie said: “Neil has always placed colleague well-being his top priority and it was extremely important to him that whilst the teams were working remotely, they felt connected and valued. This was how the idea of sending a surprise through the post began, hence the start of Colleague Box.”
“Adam and I got on board as Managing Director and Head of Communications and we expanded on Neil’s initial idea to come up with what you see today. We received hundreds and hundreds of orders within the first few weeks and Colleague Box is going from strength-to-strength.”
One of the first to request a Colleague Box was Lincoln City CEO Liam Scully, who ordered a batch for their office team and were very grateful for putting a smile on their colleagues faces. There have since been orders from all over the UK including several businesses in and around Derby, an area the couple know very well.
“Adam and I are both from Derby. We’re Derby County season ticket holders and we love the city,” added Natalie.
“I set up Derby Days Out in 2015; a website which is a one-stop shop listing exciting events, amazing attractions and cool clubs for children and families in Derby. I was fed up with trawling several websites when trying to find something to do with my children in Derby and so that is why I came up with the idea of Derby Days Out.
“I sold the business to Sarah Bulmer in 2018 as I had my second daughter, Poppy, the year prior, and juggling a baby and the business became tricky.
“I have still kept my pulse on what is going on in and around Derby and have found that the business community in the city have been very supportive of my new venture.”
Colleague Box offer free UK shipping and have even sent packages abroad, with orders received from France, America, Spain and Holland.
Adam added: “Although setting up a business during the pandemic was a risky move, we launched at a time when supporting people and employee engagement was, and still is, paramount.
“With so much uncertainty, doubt and lack of contact with your team-mates, we wanted something thoughtful with a personalised message that companies could send out quickly and easily from anywhere.
“The response to Colleague Box has been amazing. The feeling you get when you receive a surprise gift in the post is brilliant and we’ve had so much wonderful feedback.”
Companies can have the gift boxes sent to their offices, direct to their colleagues’ door or a mix of both. They can order and personalise their Colleague Boxes online using a secure mass upload portal on the website. Packaged using sustainable and recyclable materials, the boxes arrive at the door within a few days.
To find out more, visit www.colleaguebox.co.uk or connect on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.