Bert ten Kate: ‘Fan of working from home’

Bert ten Kate is a security IAM consultant at Cegeka and is seconded to the Schiphol Group. Since the coronavirus crisis he has been working full-time from home. And he likes that very much. “It saves me more than eight hours of travel per week. I’ve always been a fan of working from home.”

Work is the same
“With our IAM team, we keep ICT running. We ensure that everyone can log in to their workplace and that they have the right roles and rights. It doesn’t really matter where I work. And it doesn’t really matter where my colleagues work either. Wherever they are, the problems are the same. When everyone suddenly had to work from home it was extra busy, but now it’s business as usual.”

Eight hours less travel time
“I had been working at home one day a week. I live in Veenendaal – that’s an hour of travelling, and even longer with public transport. Normally I leave very early or very late. Sometimes I leave at five o’clock. Now that I work from home every day, that saves me more than eight hours of travel time a week. That’s for my own benefit, and also for work.”

Work undisturbed
“My experience of working from home is very positive. I’ve always been a fan. I have my own little office and a good office chair at home and I can work undisturbed. I’m doing well. I’m even convinced that I do more at home than at the office. And I have more quality time with the family. I now have time to watch a movie on the couch in the evening.”

Virtual drinks
“The downside is I don’t see my colleagues enough. I really miss that human contact. We try to compensate for that by talking about it in a call every day for half an hour. We also do the weekly drinks virtually. At the moment we have more meetings than before the crisis. Normal catching up at the coffee machine has been replaced by formal appointments. That sometimes feels like a meeting. But we’re getting better and better at finding our way.”

Searching for the ideal balance
“In terms of traffic jams it would be good if we work from home more often. I really hope that people don’t have too many negative experiences during this period: working from home full-time, stress about the virus, supervising children, or relationships under pressure. I hear from colleagues that they are through with it, that it is too much. I hope that after the crisis I will be able to work from home more often. I would like to find the ideal balance between work and private life.”

Jessica Dijkhuizen: ‘I work more efficiently at home’

Jessica Dijkhuizen usually travels by train from The Hague to her workplace at Principal, which is based in WTC Schiphol. Since the coronavirus crisis she works full-time at home at the dinner table, together with her husband and children. “I have to keep a lot of balls in the air, but work more efficiently.”

Fixed structure

“Ever since the lockdown started, I’ve been working at home every day. My husband and kids are home, too. We’ve had a fixed structure from day one. We get up at 8:00, get dressed, have breakfast together and at 9:00 we go to work and school. We also keep fixed times to take a break and to have lunch. That works very well, both for the children and for us.”

Less time lost

“I’ve worked from home before, so working from home isn’t new to me. The four of us sit at the dining table. If one of us has a meeting, we try to sit apart for a while. Fortunately, my work continues despite the crisis, although it has calmed down a bit in the meantime. I notice that I do work more efficiently from home. Less time is wasted on getting coffee and talking to others.”

Juggling act

“Still, I think it’s heavy, really heavy. Work in combination with supervising the children in their schoolwork. We suddenly had to learn about schooling – how we can best communicate the lessons. And we need to keep the house clean, as the cleaning lady doesn’t come because of coronavirus. Now that we’re all at home every day, the house gets dirty faster. I wasn’t aware of that at first, but now I am. In the evening I’m really tired of keeping all the balls in the air.”

Longer evenings together

“What I miss most? The variety. Every day now looks the same. I miss being on the road and interacting with other people. But working from home also has its pleasant sides. We spend a lot more time together as a family. At 5pm the computers go off and we can cook at our leisure. We don’t have a long travel time. We are in less of a hurry and have a much longer evening together”.

Eyes open

“I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do when we get back outside. For the time being, maybe I’d rather not take the train – that’s gone through my head. But the car is not really an alternative. It will take me 1.5 hours. I think I will work at home more often than I did before. At our offices in England and the US, working from home was actually not done. By now they’ve experienced that it is possible, and that people do work hard at home and even more efficiently. That has opened some eyes”.

Harm de Boer: twice a week on the racing bike

Harm de Boer works as senior project manager at SADC. Twice a week he commutes on his racing bike. 38 kilometres there and 38 kilometres back. “It’s good for me, good for the environment and I also arrive at the office completely refreshed. Lovely!”

The evening is for me
38 kilometres is no distance for a city bike, but that doesn’t stop Harm. Sometimes he cycles alone, sometimes he meets a colleague and they cycle together. Harm sees the advantages of such an active commute: “When I get back from work, I’ve already exercised. The evening is for me.” Harm doesn’t cycle in the winter. “Then it’s dark and cold and it just gets too dangerous.” If he has an early appointment with a customer it’s a little trickier, too. “You can’t get all sweaty in bike clothes.” Harm prefers using his car on those days. By leaving home around 7 o’clock, he avoids the morning rush hour for the most part.

“I can really recommend it to everyone: relax for a bit! Why not?”

Access to cars and showers
“A fine outcome is access to the SADC shared cars,” says Harm. If he or his colleagues have an appointment outside the office during the day, they can use a shared car. Recently – at Harm’s personal request – there has also been a shower facility at the office. “We could already go to the neighbours for this, but a shower at the office is a bit more comfortable.” Although the office will be closed for the coming weeks because of coronavirus measures, Harm’s racing bike is ready for his next ride.

Sign your company up for the e-bike tryout pool

In June 2020, a new e-bike trial provided by ConnectBike and Groot Schiphol Bereikbaar will start. All companies in the Schiphol area can sign up. The programme is subsidised so companies only pay €60 per participating employee.

The trial is suitable for 20 to 80 employees

Your company can join for one or two months. The minimum number of e-bikes is 10, the maximum is 20. Employees each receive an e-bike on loan for two weeks, so between 20 and 80 employees will have the chance to use the bikes during the trial period.

Let your employees discover the benefits of an e-bike

Your employees can experience the advantages of commuting on an e-bike thanks to the trial bike. We understand that it is a big step to commute in a new way. People take time to change their behaviour and are often resistant when told they have to. In our experience, a free trial period works well. Many people choose to continue to cycle after the two-week trial.

Everything taken care of

ConnectBike will arrange a reservation system and the delivery and collection of the bikes. They also help with internal communication, such as sample texts for email, flyers and banners. If desired, mobility experts Ronald Postam and Rosemarijn Verdoorn offer personalised advice to companies free of charge. For example, they can analyse your bicycle schemes and advise on improvements or do a postcode analysis to determine how great the cycling potential is. We take care of the complete procedure.

Only €60 per employee

Groot Schiphol Bereikbaar pays 50% of the costs of the e-bike pool. This means that you only pay €60 per participant.

What’s next? Be prepared.

There will come a time when everyone who now works from home will return to their usual workplace. And that will bring about some changes. Over the past few weeks, we have become accustomed to social distancing. There is a fear of being close to each other. How will employees travel to work in a 1.5-metre society?

Some will prefer to avoid public transport for the time being, especially during peak travel times. Make sure you’re prepared for this. Bicycles and e-bikes are good alternatives for employees who live within 15 kilometres of work. In recent weeks, cycling was regularly mentioned as the best means of transport during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

This manner of transport comes with a low risk of infection, and moreover, cycling has a positive effect on the lungs. For employees living further afield, ridesharing (sharing a car with other passengers) may be a good alternative to public transport.