What doesn't break you, makes you stronger - 2020 at Wasl

 In challenging times people tend to worry and whine. They tend to do nothing in the hope that difficult time passes away, and things become better. Others step up to the challenges, come up with solutions, and become stronger.

When the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the world early this year, no one knew what to expect. It came suddenly. The news was spreading as fast as the virus, and everyone went into a panic mode. The World Health Organization guidelines were issued fast. It mandated a lock down all over the world. Here at Wasl, it meant for employees to go back home and work from home till the period of the lockdown is over. Things we not clear. Major events and activities were canceled, including the much-anticipated annual employee gathering.

Fortunately, our IT department was prepared. They stepped up to the challenge and proved that Wasl is equipped with the right tools for the digital age. Working from home required better communications tools, and Microsoft Teams were installed in our machines overnight. That was a bless in disguise. We all needed an internal chat option, and a decent video conferencing tool. The idea has been floating around for years, even winning Wasl challenge (our ideation platform) for implementation, but never materialized. Thank God, looking back at how things unfolded during the year, I'd say this tool alone improved the level of communication and speed of work at Wasl dramatically.

One other challenge we faced during the lockdown is continuing our leasing operations. Our happiness service branches had to close, and we didn't know how long that will be. We were worried about our employees who have direct contact with our customers, and we were worried about our customers who had to visit our branches to finish their leasing process. Fortunately, we were also prepared. We were already working on a new app that allows our customers to book their units for 48 hours. The app was ready to launch when the order came from top management to step up to the challenge and don't stop at the booking step. The app had to offer the complete process for leasing; listing Wasl's huge inventory of properties, allowing for booking and reservation, uploading of needed documents, setting up needed payments and finalizing contracts - which are sent to the customer via couriers.

IT, Operations and Marcom stepped up to the challenge, and the app was ready to launch in May. We launched with a proper marketing campaign and stopped our offline leasing, beating the market to become the first company in the UAE to offer online leasing. It is a huge step forward that we are very proud of. We have even used our expertise in completing our leases fast to achieve a time record by leasing 126 units in just 6 hours during our summer promotions campaign in August.

The year had its difficulties, many of us caught the virus. We were worried on our colleagues. We were worried about our salaries and jobs, which unfortunately were not affected. But now, as the year ends, we can say that we became stronger, and ready to face the new year's challenges.


Submitted By Fadi Zaghmout, Digital Marketing and Social Media Specialist