Hidde de Vries about the importance of live

During the breakfast session 'Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast', Hidde de Vries shared his wise lessons. He worked at Google as International Vitality Manager - and learned there and through his near-burnout what you need to do to be mentally resilient. He also wrote two books about this: Recharge in 7 Days and Work Smart Play Smart. He is very clear about one thing: everything revolves around attention. And let that be the beating heart of (live) events!


The new route to the office, what does it look like? We asked our clients and Hidde de Vries, who all joined us during a special breakfast session. While some corporations want to see everyone back in the well-known corridors as soon as possible, some also make working from home mandatory.

Benefits of hybrid working

Hidde conducted research into hybrid working with his Recharge Company and discovered that no less than 72% of the respondents wanted to continue working in this way after the crisis. Hidde is convinced that hybrid working really does deliver for companies. “Less travel time, so higher productivity, lower travel costs and above all: happier employees. For many applicants, it is even a prerequisite to get started these days, making it a crucial part of employer branding.”

Money is not enough

Hidde believes that attracting and especially retaining professionals is extra difficult due to the new freedoms. “Once above the emotional salary threshold of 50-60,000 euros, people need other motivating factors, such as structure, social networks and development opportunities. And that is precisely what we can hardly offer, now that we have been driven further apart than ever due to corona measures. Giving trust and attention and letting them take responsibility is the solution.”

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Bye bye office

Office is not a necessary ingredient for this, Hidde believes. According to him, there are six things we do in the office, namely

1. Produce
2. Meeting (internal and external)
3. Solutions (brainstorming)
4. Learn / develop
5. Socialize
6. Create engagement

“None of those things necessarily have to happen in the office. Of course there must be a place to come together and give the awards a place, but otherwise it is good for organizations to let go as much as possible," says Hidde.

No fruit bowl

A fruit bowl or personal training is not the solution for more vitality and wellbeing in the workplace, Hidde is convinced of that. “Real wellbeing is created by letting go. This gives others confidence, which ensures wellbeing and in turn increased productivity.” That trust must be cultivated and nurtured and, according to Hidde, that does not happen in the workplace.

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Unique moments

“The best friendships and deals are made elsewhere. This can be in the pub or during an event. The energy released there is the catalyst for employee engagement and productivity. Just check; you are going to run faster for a colleague who confided to you during that staff event in the woods how dire his family situation currently looks like? Aren’t you? And be honest, you don't have those kinds of conversations at a coffee machine! That's why unique moments are needed; to really get to know each other outside the comfort zone called the office.”

Back to the office: let employees decide!

“A top team therefore does not consist of hard-working star players, but of people who are allowed to make mistakes and are there for each other. If you want them to get the best out of themselves, let them determine. Also whether and how they want to go back to the office and how they want to work and socialize. That is different for every organization.”