Simacan working at home
It’s December and we’re working from home for nine months. The strictest lockdown until now, has started today in The Netherlands. All the while, life and work continues 'as usual' - as far as we can call it usual and normal. At Simacan, all work processes continue, and we can all be proud of the way we are still going strong! But still… it’s a real shame we see so little of each other. When we ask colleagues what they miss most, the answer is often 'the social contacts with colleagues'. That is why I, Nathalie from HR support, decided to visit my colleagues virtually at home. A number of Simacanners talked with me about their home office and how things are for them this year.
"When I work from home" Simke tells us, "I sit at the table, in my new kitchen, looking out at my garden". Simke is our Facility Manager and is therefore the only one who can still often be found at our office location. This is because there has to be coffee for the very few office visitors and on a regular basis packages are being delivered. Besides this there is always something to arrange and organise.
Floor also worked in the office from time to time, but nowadays is more often found in her mother's hobby room: "There is a desk, next to the window and I look out onto the trees of the surrounding gardens”. Colleague Gerret also has an outside view and occasionally sees people walking their dogs when he is not looking at the three screens on his desk; "I have two large screens and my laptop screen. I can't work with less than three screens".
However, not everyone is surrounded by nature or their own private offices. Anne's workplace, for example, is on the third floor, next to a busy and chaotic intersection. She shares her workplace with two roommates. And of course, there’s always someone who'll do you one better: Joris has a ‘penthouse’ with a view on his roof and this is his workplace: "When I look outside, I see the skyline of Rotterdam!”
Not only do our workplaces differ from one another, the daily routine has also changed for many. Many colleagues have indicated that they are more inclined to do household chores. Bob can confirm this: "If necessary, quickly running an errand, keeping to the 1,5 meter distance ordinance, with suitable protection, can be done a lot easier from home. And it immediately gives you the opportunity to get out of your desk chair for a while. So do it just like colleague Tim: get up, throw your laundry in the washing machine and voilá: you'll get your exercise on and your favorite outfit is clean again. Or how about playing your own music loudly and dancing and singing along for a while? Floor certainly prefers that!
In addition to a different course of the working day, I was also curious to see whether my colleagues now work in a different way. Bob notices this in the way of communication: “Where before you used to be able to visit a colleague, you are now bound by digital means”. Gerret notes the same thing: "You really have to weigh up whether you communicate via text or telephone. In the office, you could just walk up to a colleague.
Joris and Anne, on the other hand, experience more (compulsory) flexibility in working hours. For example, Joris has children at home, which means that he occasionally exchanges his working hours in the afternoon for some hours in the evening. Anne sometimes consciously chooses to work in the evening, because that’s the time for her when she can easily concentrate.
So the changes are not all negative. There are quite a few that work out well for some colleagues. For example, less travel time to and from work. Certainly for colleagues who do not live close by, it makes a difference to get up less early and not have to deal with the busyness of traffic. These positive changes also arise questions, like ‘what works better at home than in the office?’
"A better focus, being able to finish things," Joris, Bob and Tim say. Floor agrees, but indicates that finding motivation is more difficult. You often get this from colleagues who work alongside you. This certainly also applies to Simke: "I can be and feel more meaningful at the office. Gerret, for example, misses Pair Programming, pair programming is solving a complicated programming puzzle with a colleague.
It's often in the little things, now that we no longer have them, we realise how much we value them. Let us hope we can continue to find nice ways to keep an eye on each other, even if it is digital and online. Thank you, dear colleagues, for allowing me to take a look at your home office. I can say on behalf of the whole team that we are proud of how we are doing!