Blogs


Why the Dubai Fitness Challenge?

The initiative was introduced because of the rising levels of obesity in the country that has become a huge public health concern. The International Diabetes Federation reported that 1 in 5 – or nearly 19.3% – of U.A.E.’s population is diabetic.  Furthermore, nearly 40% of the population is pre-diabetic and a large number still remains undiagnosed. With a simple change in people’s everyday lifestyles, this issue can be reversed. The Dubai Fitness Challenge is an initiative that can assist in reversing or reducing these effects. It aims to boost a healthy lifestyle among the residents of Dubai.

Nearly 1 million people from the government, corporates, schools, universities and the general public join in the movement and commit to getting their daily #Dubai30X30. This challenge is one of a kind because it gives me, as a father, an opportunity to bond with and find middle ground with my children.

My six-year-old son and I worked out, laughed, played and danced together – all, in one place. When someone completes a challenge successfully, they are presented with a gift. After completing our challenge, my son and I went to collect our gifts. There, an instructor from the Dubai Civil Defense showed us various exercises. He gave us different challenges to complete, such as crunches, sit and reach, etc. and we exercised with music too.

My daughter’s school also organized activities to take part in the Dubai Fitness Challenge. At her school, policewomen taught and exercised with them as part of the 30x30 challenge. The challenge began with a marathon that was graced with the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai. The marathon was an amazing experience and I was extremely enthusiastic to complete a number of other challenges.

The Dubai Fitness Challenge also enables people to learn several new physical activities. When we were at Safa Park, as part of the challenge, trained boxing professionals gave us a brief introduction to the sport and also taught us many specialized techniques. I encourage everyone to participate. It is healthy and much fun!

The Dubai Fitness Challenge started in 2017 as a citywide initiative of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council for Dubai Government. With one goal in mind, the challenge encourages every resident and visitor in the city to exercise continuously for at least 30 minutes for 30 consecutive days, turning Dubai into the most active city in the world.

This year, Dubai Fitness Challenge returns to continue this commitment and to bring the fitness world to the public. With an all-new Dubai Fitness app, an action-packed calendar of events and a host of free fitness activities all across the city, it’s all about igniting a movement. This year, the Dubai Fitness Challenge will run from October 26, 2018, until November 24, 2018.

- Submitted by Shaikh Shahid Amin, Facility Supervisor

Home is where the heart is

Dubai, as seen today, is the epitome of modernization. From being the most prominent hub for traders and travelers in the 1950s to being the most attractive shopping destination in the world; from being known only for its vast expanses of beautiful deserts to being home to the tallest building in the world; Dubai has achieved great heights in such little time.

Born and raised in Dubai, I’ve called this city my home for 22 years now. It’s almost like Dubai and I grew up together. From playing at the Creek-side Park when I was five years old to now dining at its renewed self – Al Seef Dubai, I cannot believe how much has changed around me in such a short span of time.

The Umm Suqueim Park with all its different swings, slides and merry-go-rounds, the Fun City in Bur Juman Center (one of the only malls back then), the Jumeirah beach with the view of the iconic Burj Al Arab and the Mc Donald’s in Khaleej Center with the play area attached to it, were some of my favorite spots around the city as a child. Quite different from back then, now I spend most of my time shopping at the Dubai Mall, watching movies at Vox Cinemas and exploring all the amazing restaurants around the city to fulfill my foodie cravings. I still enjoy sitting by the Jumeirah beach while absorbing the view of the Burj Al Arab – I guess some things never change!

The best thing about Dubai is that even though it is approximately 2500 kilometers away from India, it gives us NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) so many wonderful opportunities to still be connected to our culture. It allows us to express almost all our social and religious beliefs with so much liberty. I love how the U.A.E. joins in celebrating diversity at every opportunity it gets. We celebrate Eid, Christmas, and Diwali with the same enthusiasm – with decorating malls, firecrackers being burst and lighting the city up. The U.A.E. always strives to enhance the lives of all its residents and makes sure that everyone living here is able to become their happiest selves.

Although much has changed over the last two decades, what Dubai means to me, remains quite constant. As we celebrate the 47th National Day of the United Arab Emirates, I take immense pride to be known as a resident of Dubai and to call it my birthplace. This place has given me an abundance of bitter-sweet memories to hold on to forever and I will always be grateful to the leaders of this nation for giving me such a wonderful home, away from home.

- Submitted by Leontia D'silva, Junior Digital Executive

 

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones

One might argue that what makes a company stand out is not its assets, but rather it is its culture. It is the spirit of the company reflected on how employees feel and interact with each other and with customers that really matter. wasl is certainly aware of this, and have been doing a brilliant job in encouraging innovation and supporting employees happiness.

I am lucky to be a member of the innovation committee at wasl, and I appreciate the ideas’ platform that the company has been curating for years to encourage innovation. The program runs under the name of “wasl challenge” and poses different challenges for employees to come up with solutions under a different theme each round. One of the challenges we posted last year was designed to gather ideas that would help increase the level of happiness among employees.

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. A colleague from our finance team, Ms. Esra Saleh, submitted a very smart idea last year. Her suggestion was to develop what she called “Happiness Cards” and to distribute these cards among employees. The "Happiness Cards" carry encouraging and nice message that employees can share between themselves after adding their own personalized message on top of it. It was a simple idea and easy to implement. Thus, we arranged for a proper design for the cards and distributed a set of 8 cards to each employee in the company. We also uploaded a digital version of the cards onto our internal portal so that employees can print more of them whenever they need to. The cards were an instant hit. Everyone was happy and surprised with the nice gesture and they all started exchanging cards showing their appreciation to their fellow colleagues.

I remember the first card I received had the message “If only there were two like you” and a personalized hand-written note thanking me for the support I provided my colleague on that day. I also remember giving one card to my manager with the message “Thank you, you made my day!” and complimented it with a big heart drawing and a smile face - of course that was the day we received the yearly bonus! During the year, I gave away and also received many other cards. Messages like “You were creative today”, “I am proud of you”, ‘Thank you for your continuous support” provided nice gestures and helped to raise our morals and appreciation for each other.

This year, we decided to update these beautiful cards with a new design and refreshed messages to keep this smart idea going.

For wasl, and to go with the occasion of writing this blog post, I would love to give the card “I’m proud of you”.

 And for my fellow colleagues, I would say, “I really appreciate you”.

- Submitted by Fadi Zaghmout, Digital Marketing and Social Media Specialist

We are Tech Geeks

I joined wasl back in 2013 and things were very different then. We had a quiet environment and people knew exactly what they were supposed to do as we had specific guidelines on all procedures. I would say we were working in both a classic and a classy way.

With time, things started changing around us. Quite quickly, we entered a technology-driven work environment and I noticed that many of my colleagues found it challenging to cope with our new ways of doing our daily tasks. Nevertheless, many others (including myself) were thrilled about all the new advancements and changes in our work processes and opted to support our fellow colleagues whole-heartedly. I think it was easy and exciting for me because I have always been a tech enthusiast. During my teenage years, I passionately followed tech blogs and always wished to bring about a positive technological change to the world someday.

At wasl, technological changes were rapidly implemented. Many things were getting automated and procedures were streamlined. This resulted in a shift in the workforce. We thought that in order to increase efficiency, individuals would be replaced with operating software and automated systems. And we feared it might negatively affect our job roles. Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, we learned to adapt to new technologies, and ended up providing better services with more efficiency.

For me, I think the best software system upgrade that wasl had undertaken was the implementation of the current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It elevated the way we communicated with our colleagues and customers. The online renewals system, SMS services, online tenant accounts, online property search engines, and online property registrations were all advancements that were implemented in just a few years. Services that could only be envisioned in the real estate market were successfully being implemented by wasl with the combined efforts of all the employees and the wonderful positive recognition we received from our tenants.

Contrary to the situation back in 2013, things today seem like they are going fast. However, I find this rush beautiful as it is moving us towards a better future with wasl. The upgraded systems now handle most of our workload and routine activities while we direct our manual labor into more efficient activities. We, as employees, are constantly growing with wasl and I believe that no other company can make me feel the way wasl does. I am honored to be a part of an organization that values employees’ contributions – big or small. Even my little ideas are recognized and supported on big platforms. Such support tremendously helps validate our self-worth and boosts it immensely.

Today, I believe we are the pioneers in the real estate market of Dubai and that is not just because of the high quality of services we deliver to our customers but also because of all the efforts we dedicate to implement technological progressions within our company.  We dare to believe in what we do and we grow stronger each day with our desire to become the best versions of ourselves. This is where I’ve always wanted to be and believe anyone would want to be.

I will never forget the words of one of our former tenants and a recent wasl freehold property buyer who said: “wasl ki toh baat hi kuch aur hai!” (Translation: “There is something unique about wasl!”) -  and that made me proud to be a “waslee”- wasl employee!

- Submitted by Anjum Hameed, Senior Customer Happiness Representative

Launching wasl GG Game to increase employees engagement!

After several months of brainstorming, planning and developing content, we finally rolled out ‘The GG Game’ today. A card swap game that the marketing team has been working on with the aim of increasing employee engagement, happiness, and interaction between each other. From its name, GG stands for “Get me” and “Give you”, you play with a colleague and swap cards. If you get a green card, you are lucky and your colleague will have to get you something, and if you are not, then you will have to give him something. 

What to give and what to get? 

That’s something the team brainstormed over and over. We wanted to mix a list of items that would get people excited such as chocolate and ice cream, but also wanted to toss in some tasks to encourage employees to be more engaged, such as coming up with an idea and submitting it to our ideation website (wasl challenge), or writing a new blog and submitting it to our corporate blog, or simply being obliged to take the stairs the next day to one’s office instead of the elevator. 

When I received my set of cards today, I opted to play it with my colleague Kalthoom. We were excited as we held our cards facing each other, not sure what was in store for us. She started and picked a red card with a chewing gum and the number 3 attached to it; which means that she has to get me 3 chewing gums. Not bad! I like chewing gums! And I also lucked out when it was my turn to pick from her cards. I picked a green card with a task stating “Email me a motivational quote every morning next week”. I will make sure to hold her on to this task, but I also asked her to copy the entire team so that we all get motivated.

The list of items and tasks is long which adds to the beauty of the game. Each time someone plays it, he/she will get a surprise, which hopefully will get them motivated to play it over and over again. 

We have tried our best to keep the game as simple as possible, cutting down the 4 colors concept we initially thought of into two colors cards (Red and Green) of giving and getting. We were also worried that people will not understand the mechanics of the game and thus created an instruction leaflet to accompany the set of cards we distributed. 

It was a fun journey coming up with the idea and developing it. I worked closely with Leontia D’Silva, my colleague, on every stage of it and I really appreciate her input and efforts here. I would love to thank our creative agency who helped us come up with a suitable attractive creative. I also would love to thank my ex-manager Niveen Tolba, who pointed out the complications of the previous concept and raised our attention to the need of simplifying it. And finally thanking every member of the marketing team for their input and support throughout the whole process. 

It was indeed a team project. And today, seeing the feedback and the excitement of other colleagues, makes me feel like it was all worth the efforts.

- Submitted By Fadi Zaghmout, Digital Marketing and Social Media Specialist

 

The ‘Get me Give You’ game, abbreviated to the GG Game has been a fun and special project for me. The conception of the idea came about when my colleague, Fadi and I were discussing how we should play more games in the office.  The main motive behind devising the game was to increase conversation and engagement among colleagues, not just within the department but also with colleagues from other departments.

To discover different types of tasks, you are compelled to play the game with more people, and I think that is the best part of the game! If you want to explore all the activities of the game, you have to take the initiative to pop into another department and play the game with different people. We hope that this task-based game encourages our employees to interact with each other more.

The journey of developing the game was quite exciting as well. Initially, the game had several other rules that took us ages to explain! After several rounds of creative discussions and with the insightful input from everyone from our department, the game took the shape of what it is today. Our creative juices really flowed out blissfully throughout the designing process of the game and it was truly an incredible experience to be a part of. What made it more special was the response we received from everyone after distributing the game.

It was wonderful to know that everyone was enjoying the new game. Many already played the game and found it easy to understand, thought it was super fun and told us that they were surely going to play the game again and again. Having received such incredible feedback, we felt like all the effort we put into devising the game was definitely worth it. I hope everyone continues to play the game and follows through with the dares they receive. I played the game myself, and now have to get three carrots for my colleague, Walid. While he munches on his carrots, I have to take the stairs, going up 4 floors to reach my office tomorrow morning. 

I believe it is extremely important to have the right balance between work and play… so, the next time you feel bogged down by all the workload you have, pick up your set of cards and play the GG Game!

- Submitted By Leontia D'Silva, Junior Digital Executive