It was a relatively early start for a weekend, but the greenery of the Emirates Golf Club made for a great setting to what was about to be a very eventful waslympics!
After a few cups of coffee and a power bar, more familiar faces began to roll in, and we were ready to begin the day. The Ignite team were all hands on deck to get us pumped up and ready to jump into the obstacles. However before the real games begun, we were sectioned off into groups of four and were taken through a warm up (at this point the warm up honestly felt like a full work out – but little did we know, it was about to get real, like really real!)
After a quick briefing, we learned that the day would consist of eight stations where we would be teamed up against another team. Once we completed a station, we would get a 10 minute break and then we would have to jump into the next station and take on the challenge. From beginning to end, the competitive spirit was high.
Everywhere you looked there were teams fighting hard to make it through the challenges, and challenging they were. From a variety of activities that included full circuit training, to carrying heavy objects from one point to another, and back and forth (we thought it was never going to end), to giving it your absolute all physically and mentally at the Plank Station - It was a tough set of activities and everyone competed like champions.
When we were done with the challenges, it must have been four hours in and the real highlight was to see the smiles on everyone’s faces even though they were absolutely exhausted. It was a well-organized team building and fitness event. Congratulations go out to everyone who took part and especially the organizing Committee members. We look forward to next year’s event (and will train a little harder in advance!)
Thanks for a wonderful and active Saturday!
- Submitted By Maram Aliwaiwi, Assistant Development Manager; Erik Volkers, Development Manager; David Mitcham, Senior Development Manager and Monique Joann Andrade, Development Officer
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
There is no better place to visit than one that represents an amalgamation of culture, heritage, progress, creativity and development—a place for you to witness a life filled with colour and diversity. Expo 2020 Dubai is one such place that the wasl staff was fortunate to have visited. It would not be an overstatement to say that it is a place of unparalleled immersive experience, where artists, artwork, and technology all merge into one place.
The entry gates to this grand event are, themselves, a magnificent display of how wonderfully the past has intertwined with the future. The surreal entry portals that welcome every visitor to Expo 2020 Dubai are significant, 99 per cent of their engineering being made of air. "This is the largest Mashrabiya (an ancient design pattern) ever built which feel like it's from the future, but the fact is, it is from the past," British architect Asif Khan told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.
However, for wasl staff and management, the journey didn't begin at these massive and beautiful gates but at the wasl Call Centre, from which we travelled by bus and metro. It was particularly fascinating to see colleagues from different departments travel together who had never met before, consolidating the impact of the event on introducing people to one another and the professionalism of wasl’s management in organising the journey. The trip was as comfortable and convenient as it could be. As ‘wasl’ means 'connection' in Arabic, the Al Wasl Dome is designed to function as a focal point of the entire Expo 2020 site. After taking a group picture at the Al Wasl Dome, a masterpiece of modern architecture, we headed to the pavilions. The knowledgeable tour guides took us through the pavilions that represented a unique and unforgettable experience. It is a place that has it all, from entertainment to innovations, from food to art, from shopping to educational programmes along with concerts, creative displays, as well as daily festive celebrations.
Each pavilion is uniquely built and designed, and it is awe-inspiring to witness how the new world is shaping to closely connect to our past and what we as humans are developing and building in the present; The pavilions that we visited permeated with their distinct elements. The rich culture and theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" could not only be seen but also felt in the ambience as we walked through this grand fair. A few sitting or resting places were unique and sculpted in the form of Arabic calligraphy.
The first pavilion that we visited was the Mobility pavilion, featuring the world's largest passenger lift. The cutting-edge mobility device will make you feel like you are in a different world. Subsequently, we visited the pavilion of Saudi Arabia, which reflected the past, present and future of the Kingdom. Taking you on an audiovisual journey through the Kingdom's creative scene, the displays of pictures and videos were nothing short of mesmerising. While you are impressed by how far Saudi Arabia has progressed, Luxembourg's pavilion draws you into a very different space, where you can discover the country's diversity, connectivity, enterprising spirit, and commitment to the environment.
The UAE pavilion displays the country’s ancient roots as a crossroads for people, goods, and ideas to transform into a unified nation. We can witness the uniqueness of the UAE as a welcoming home to people from over 200 countries. The UAE pavilion clearly positions the nation as a land for dreamers — it was like a multi-sensory journey through a rapidly changing landscape.
You can have your Expo 2020 passport stamped at each pavilion, an experience that felt like the world tour blended with an outer world experience. Strange? Yes, it was. A celebration of traditions and collective progress is displayed in a surreal way. We ended this eventful trip with a tasty lunch, which was all we needed after walking miles and seeing this much-anticipated global event in our beloved Dubai.
"The Expo 2020 visit was wonderful. It made us feel like we are in another world. I appreciate the efforts of wasl and feel lucky to be in UAE- the country of achievements and greatness."
Mona Yusuf (Property Management)
"This was an amazing experience. A team full of happiness and cheerful faces made it more fun, and we enjoyed it to the maximum."
Maryam Khan (Property Management)
As many visitors have stated, no day at the Expo is the same. One can only experience it while witnessing and visiting it, not once but quite often. That's right. A day is not enough to experience the essence of Expo 2020 Dubai. So, be prepared to share and learn stories that inspire and empower you and the sights that make you wonder about all the extraordinary things in this world.
- Kulsum Matin (Property Management)