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”.