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Look ahead, not back!

Overath, 22.12.2020  Christmas parties are as much a part of December as presents are of Christmas Eve. The best way to celebrate is at crowded tables surrounded by familiar colleagues, with homemade cookies, mulled wine and “Last Christmas” from the tape. But if that doesn’t work? No problem – then it’s time for new ideas. Like at BARLOG Plastics GmbH. BARLOG is known for solving all problems in the plastics industry, “from the idea to series production”, and would not be BARLOG if they had not also found a solution for the challenge “Xmas 2020”. And one that goes far beyond a simple online meeting with a dry executive speech and, on top of that, conveys a positive vision.

Christmas cookies from salami?

“It has always been important to us that we don’t see problems as problems, but rather as a challenge to do things differently, to try out new things, and thus perhaps become a little better again,” says Tobias Haedecke. The BARLOG employee is a member of the 2020 Christmas party’s organizing team, which has come up with something different for this occasion year after year: Special locations, unusual show acts – not even the bosses knew about it. This year, things are a little different. This year, the Orga team came up with a Christmas photo challenge. For four weeks, employees could submit photos. The topics of the four challenge rounds – worked on by the BARLOGians with growing enthusiasm – were obvious: “plastic Christmas”, “Christmas baking” and “kitschiest Christmas decorations”, for example.

The results were correspondingly weird, and some employees are said to have hardly been able to stop laughing during the voting. Fairy lights made of PET bottles, a Santa Claus riding a dinosaur, Christmas cookies made of salami and cheese – and these are just a few examples of many. “Our colleagues are simply up for unconventional ideas, and that’s what sets them apart at work,” says Tobias Haedecke. The winners of the most beautiful photo in each case receive a shopping voucher. Of course for Overath stores, after all, the aim is to support the local economy.

The boss chats out of the secrets

“The ‘100 people eating cookies together in front of the screen’ variant was too boring for us,” explains Christian Schumacher, training manager and “explanatory bear” at the company from Overath in the Bergisches Land region near Cologne, who always manages to captivate hundreds of visitors with chemical experiments at the company’s conferences.

The highlight of the Christmas events, which BARLOG employees can follow from their home PCs with a Christmas care package sent to them in advance, is the “Talk zur Primetime” format. This is where the company founder comes into play: Microphone on for Werner Barlog! After all, in over two decades of company history, a few anecdotes have come together. And that’s exactly what it’s all about: Paul Remmel, another veteran BARLOG employee, will ask the senior about the founding period of the company: Why did Werner Barlog become an entrepreneur in the first place, how did people solve problems in the past? How did it work at all, without Internet and cell phone at the customer, if one had to have important documents first of all sent by fax?

Anyone who wants to may ask questions online, which Werner Barlog will then answer – this should be exciting, because he is known for having repeatedly even taken trainees by the hand to explain the plastics industry to them from scratch. “I have come to know Werner Barlog as a very appreciative person,” says Schumacher, who will moderate the audience Q&A session. “With this talk round in a ‘digital fireside atmosphere’ we not only want to set a little Christmas highlight, but also take a step into the future. Because I think it’s important that these stories don’t get lost: They are clearly part of the BARLOG DNA.”

“And of course we also want to know from Werner Barlog how he envisions the future. Where do you want BARLOG GmbH to be in five or ten years?” asks Tobias Haedecke. And Christian Schumacher can even imagine that similar talk rounds as well as the photo challenge will take place regularly from now on – after all, the company will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, a good opportunity to continue the project.

This unusual Christmas package has fallen on fertile ground with the workforce: “The response has been great,” says Schumacher, “more employees are taking part than we had thought. That shows me that our people also have the courage to make changes. We’re not only looking forward to the event, but also to next year!”

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