Thermomix® donations and "digital visitor bridge"
In times of crisis, it is essential to stick together and be able to rely on each other. This applies both to our colleagues as well as to people around us who suffered badly during the lockdowns. We supported them in a variety of ways at all of our locations.
How can we help? Where can we lend our support? The Vorwerk owner family asked itself these questions right at the outset of the pandemic – and responded to them by providing some donations. The aid initially helped non-profit organizations in Wuppertal and the surrounding area. This included the Wuppertaler Tafel, which urgently required a new refrigerated warehouse to store fresh food donations, as well as Aktion Kindertal, which supports children and young people from socially disadvantaged families.
But it was not just financial matters that people were worried about. People were also suffering from the effects of social distancing in particular. This prompted the owner family to take action again. “We witnessed during the first lockdown just how badly the pandemic is affecting senior citizens’ and nursing facilities. It was often no longer possible to make visits, and as the technical infrastructure was also missing, residents were sometimes entirely cut off from their relatives for weeks,” says Vorwerk shareholder Sabine Schmidt. Jointly with Gaby von Oppenheim, she forms the family board, which coordinates the family's donation campaigns, among other things.
In conjunction with the social affairs department of the city of Wuppertal, the idea of the “digital visitor bridge” was born: senior citizens’ homes and hospitals receive tablets, computers and WLAN connections. This means that elderly and sick people can see and speak to their relatives whenever they want to – easily and quickly via video call. Each of the 20 Vorwerk shareholders were immediately open to the idea, leading to digital visits being enabled at 20 facilities, which is still the case now.
Vorwerk's international social media channels were brimming to provide inspiration, a bit of distraction and to counter the boredom, too, that people sometimes felt at home. Colleagues from all over the world posted here – with the best recipes for a bread dough without yeast, for example, or a quick cleaning tip. On the Polish Thermomix® Instagram account, the employees themselves showed viewers how to prepare dishes with the Thermomix® TM6. The staff in Poland also sent each other videos from their offices at home with suggestions for appropriate children's activities, for instance, strengthening the team spirit within the team as whole in the process.
Digital communication has also helped to foster contacts in other Vorwerk countries. At the same time, support has been given to many people who have been suffering severely from the situation.
Vorwerk China raised around 63,000 euros to fight the corona pandemic, while our Polish branch donated money to a hospital in Wroclaw treating corona patients. In France, 45,000 euros went to organizations that look after disadvantaged children or provide medical care for corona patients, among other things.
Those affected were very appreciative of donations in kind, too. 100 Thermomix® TM6 and 100 Kobold vacuum cleaners in France, for example, were given to support some associations and initiatives dealing with the preparation of food for employees in hospitals and hospices. Branches in Poland and Taiwan donated Thermomix® devices to non-profit organizations.
Like many commercial enterprises, Vorwerk, too, needed to forge new paths during the lockdowns. Direct sales in particular, i.e. customer visits by our independent sales advisors, were no longer an option from one day to the next.
Within a very short time, new ideas were conceived that on the one hand ensured ongoing operations, including product demonstrations, and on the other accelerated the path toward the digital future.
Three success stories that helped consultants through the crisis: