We cut our work in pieces and this way everybody can do something.


SonGrow has a lot of employees and working times are very flexible. How can you organize that? By cutting work in small pieces and working together! We learned that through our work with handicapped people. Everybody wants to work, but there also has to be a balance between your work and your private life. After all people still need to have some free time, so that they can have a hobby, having an aquarium for example!

That is why we don’t believe in “one important person, who manages the company”. Working overtime, working 60 hours a week. We don’t want to deny that Petra and Bert Hogendoorn have done this now and than, but it is not the ideal way. Working together with a lot of people with there own talents. People that can work on times that fit by there life situation, when it’s needed and people take responsibility responsible for there share. To us, that seems to be the future. 

But how do you realize that?

We learned a lot about this through our work with handicapped people. 

In the last years we tried a couple of times to let one or more handicapped people work at SonGrow. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. After one or two weeks people stopped and went home unhappy. Why?

  • The facilities/ greenhouses are too big. People didn’t have there own spot.
  • The assignments where to difficult. They also had to start up and clean up at the end of the day.
  • There were too many people in the in the room at lunchbreak. That made them feel uncomfortable.
  • People were lonely. Nobody could really talk tot them.

Still, there was work that they were able to do.  

We did this kind of work on Saturdays, in the form of a competition. Who can put the most labels on? Ho can do the most pots in a tray? It was fun to do, but for handicapped people this doesn’t work out. The stress of the competition, in which you have to work together and make quick choices. This is exacly what they can not handle.

So we had to come up with a solution!

Together with a trainee and our companions Kees de Vetten and Kees van Middin (care organisation of South-Holland) we looked for a way to create safety. We came up with a lot of creative ideas, which we also used in the rest of the company. Specific for the needs of handicapped people we came up with: 

  • Handicapped people work next to us, not wit us. We use the same facilities but different times.
  • The lunch room is their own space during lunchtime. We can nevertheless have a cup of coffee with them but we don’t stay together during the whole break.
  • Their work is cut into a lot of small and evident steps.
  • We avoid making choises or we make the situation VERY VERY clear, by using pictures and descriptions
  • We do have little celebrations together or enjoy the victory of the local soccer club.
  • And what is most important: the handicapped people are not alone. They are supervised and motivated and appreciated by there assistants Kees de Vetten, Kees van Middin and Arie van Patijnenburg. They do a great job! They let them glow! 

This worked out so well that we were able to work together with many handicapped people in the surroundings. 

Their work is of course a kind of slow in comparison to our little competitions. But they do there work so very accurate and with a lot of passion. And because we work with a lot of handicapped people we can rely on them.  This is a great solution! 

And to come back to our daily working situation: 

Our normal work is less structured and less simple. But yes, we learned that our work is complicated but can be simplified by cutting it into pieces.

  • If you see a picture of an organized room – then it is easier to explain how to clean up.
  • Do you know how a cart with wheels works? – Then you can explain why sometimes it falls to the side. ( BEFORE a new employees finds out the hard way) 

Pretty simple, but you have to keep in mind all the experiences of people, make it simple and last but not least SHARE! 

Thanks to our work with handicapped people we learned a lot and we could specify our procedures, our information system and our coaching system. You can read more about it under "Teamwork".