Change is Constant: Pim van Helten, DPDK

da India Fizer , AdForum

DPDK Digital Agency
Rotterdam, Olanda
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We spoke with DPDK CEO, Pim Van Helten, about their approach to adapting to the changing work landscape and how working globally can benefit a flexible work environment.


Over the past year, work environments have had to change drastically. How has your agency taken employee feedback, coupled with what’s appropriate for the company to create a work plan going forward?

DPDK believes that a positive work experience and happy employees produce exceptional work. Earlier this year, we conducted a company-wide survey seeking employees’ input on their preferred way of working. The results indicated that the majority prefers a combination of working from home and going to the office, showing the hybrid work model as the clear winner.

Together with unlimited paid vacation, we’ve implemented hybrid working as part of our new way of working. We want to give our employees the space and trust to figure out what they need to be successful at work while making sure they also have a satisfying personal life.


How has the changing work landscape affected the way pitches and campaign briefs are approached and conceptualized?

The inability to meet in-person has made the collaboration process before presentations even more important as a way to establish a strong relationship and build trust. Since we have a global team that works in multiple time zones, our overall approach hasn’t changed that much.

Before pitches, we always have in-depth and open conversations, leading up to a presentation both sides feel is a solid foundation to form the project on. We leverage our tech stack to build on each other’s ideas and facilitate collaboration on integrated proposals. At the end of the day the context changed, but the basics of pitching and handling campaign briefs stays the same.


In what ways has this impacted the work-life balance of your employees and what steps have been taken to mitigate that? 

There’s no doubt that remote work has blurred the lines between our professional and personal lives. We’ve updated our way of working to give employees a clear framework of what to expect and what is expected of them while working remotely. Which includes the unlimited holidays mentioned above to provide more flexibility and autonomy for people to decide how to balance work and personal life.

At the same time, we’re also investing in building a company culture that isn’t office centric as we want our employees to feel like they’re part of a team and have fun together. Some of the ways we’re ensuring this is by hosting (digital) events, increasing our efforts towards equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and giving back through our Do-Good program to communities and causes we deeply care about.


Given that each work environment can look a bit differently, what has helped in creating a cohesive working relationship with clients?

It’s often underestimated and overlooked, but structured and integrated plans and programs with clear objectives and goals to work towards are key in creating cohesive working relationships. Something as simple as a well-defined meeting structure and cadence can already make a big difference.

This of course requires time, resources, and commitment from both parties, but it’s important to build strong relationships that add value for both sides.


What changes that have been made over the past year do you see sticking around for years to come?

If we learned anything from COVID-19 it is that we can’t predict the future. What I can say though is that as an organization you need to be agile, open-minded, and willing to change.

We switched from working from the office to completely remote in a heartbeat and have recently implemented a hybrid work model with unlimited vacation. I would have never imagined that 1.5 years ago. Change is constant. The question is are you ready to adapt and completely turn things around when needed.