#WERFAMILY; Our Way to Stay Connected While Social Distancing

28 May 2020

Vitamine R

We put people at the center of everything we do, both inside and outside the walls of our office. Lately, there's been hardly anyone to be found inside those walls. Though we kept our distance physically, we've also done our utmost to stay connected and engaged mentally and virtually. Even in troubled times, we want to continue helping each other to realize our potential. It didn't take long for people to start launching various heartwarming gestures and initiatives based on the warm, family feeling that lives within our organization.

Connection is Crucial

When we work from home more (or exclusively), that affects the ways in which we act and interact. Our desire for togetherness and to feel we are part of a greater whole becomes more apparent. In this new context, the human touch is more important than ever.

Well-being comes first; our greatest priority is everyone's health and safety. Our next challenge is to stay connected, with each other and with our underlying purpose too. That determines why we do what we're doing, after all. A good connection between both these goals is crucial. Co-creation is an ideal way to achieve this and to get everyone on board. In our case, the key question was what we could do to further realize the full potential of each other, our customers and society as a whole.


We set out to answer this question. In a recent webinar (in Dutch), Saskia Van Uffelen, Corporate VP Gfi Belux, provided a nice view of how that went in practice.

“I'm very proud of Realdolmen and of all our employees. Soon after the first signs of the impending crisis, we went in lockdown, leading to a huge transformation in how we work and collaborate. Great resilience was required by us all as we were forced to adapt without warning. That went incredibly smoothly. Now we're working on ‘the day after’, on a new world in which we can meet up a bit more often again. As everything is currently going so well, we certainly want to incorporate the new elements that proved their success in the past weeks. We will use these elements to help move towards a good balance. I am convinced that we can make it happen. Lately, I have seen many, many people at Realdolmen seize the moment and turn challenges into opportunities. To me, they are true Champions, displaying inspirational ideas and decisiveness. The #WERFAMILY initiatives were heartwarming and have made a real difference here and there, both internally and externally.”

The #WERFAMILY initiatives were gestures of solidarity that our employees came up with on their own. They conceived all kinds of ways to stay connected, to each other and to our customers. They launched various compassionate initiatives, committing random acts of kindness with great generosity. This wave of positivity continues to roll on.

From Video Calls with Seniors to walking 1500 Kilometers

The first and largest project was the donation of laptops to (care and educational) organizations. By now, quite a few colleagues have personally donated laptops to their preferred organizations. These were received with gratitude, and have helped to reconnect many people with their families and loved ones.

Our Microsoft community, in turn, got to work on The Corona Challenges. Every week they challenge each other. Who will surprise the others with a mouthwatering picture of their lunchtime meal? Who looks the best in their protective gear (mouth mask, etc.)? They're currently working on achieving 1500 kilometers together. Anyone who takes a walk or hike helps to contribute. It's a fun way to add some exercise and work towards that healthy mind in a healthy body!

Little waves of happiness were propagated throughout the organization. A hilarious background in Teams made online collaborations more fun. People distributed and sent out face masks, accompanied by postcards for colleagues to use to cheer up contacts with a personal touch in their turn. Our offices became stops during bike rides. And so on and so forth.

In short, though we kept our distance physically, mentally we remained very close indeed, tightening our bonds even further. It's been proven once again, together you get a lot further than alone.

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