The Direct Markets team based across the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and APDM has found a unique way of lifting each other’s spirits during the COVID-19 crisis.
The team have been working remotely since lockdown measures began in March but that hasn’t stopped them from bridging the social distancing gap by chatting and engaging with each other online.
It’s not just work that has kept them talking and texting – it’s their shared love for food. The team created a social media group to share their favorite family meal ideas, and it has quickly blossomed into a vital social event every evening.
“It’s more than sharing recipes, actually,” said Randy Krieger, president of Ford Direct Markets. “It’s about engaging with each other and staying in contact. With this, there’s that sense of being together even though we’re apart.”
Though separated by circumstance, the WhatsApp group has helped draw the team together, helping to boost morale at meal time.
“We cannot be together but our passion for food and favorite family recipes bring us closer,” said Yota Baron, profit manager for Ford Direct Markets. “Everyone is very active, bursting with energy and flavors! We are sharing something very close to our hearts with our colleagues; we’re sharing our culture and our countries. Cooking for our loved ones is for many of us our language of love we can now share with each other.”
It has helped the team get to know each other a little more and forge new friendships with people they may not have had the opportunity to know otherwise.
“While the cooking is great, the best part is the engagement that comes out of that. We know we’re all going to get through this together – and we’re doing it by doing something positive,” said Alexis Gibson, HR business partner, Ford Direct Markets.
The social media group allows them to post pictures, instructions and also comment on the recipes they’ve tried. Since the group comes from so many ethnic backgrounds, the recipes submitted have run the gamut, from Dal Chawal (Indian rice and lentils), Arabic Chicken Biryani and Iraqi Timman Bagilla (Rice with Broad Beans), to traditional Bobotie from South Africa.
“In the Dubai office alone, we have 23 nationalities represented, so there’s been such a wide variety of Indian, Chinese, East European and Arabic recipes shared on the group,” said Vishnu Sasindran, senior strategic planner, Direct Markets. “So there are meals and desserts that suit everyone’s palate.”
The majority of the region’s employees are participating. Launched on March 21, more than 40 recipes have been submitted.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and it really shows that, despite working remotely, we still have a great team spirit. The recipes are an opportunity to celebrate our diversity, love of cooking and make the most of the time at home to work on these recipes!” added Sasindran.
The long-term plan is to put together a Direct Markets Ford Cookbook, composed of employees’ favorite family recipes. This will be made available to the entire global Ford team once it has been compiled.