Let's take the office chair to The Hague, shall we?
by Eduard Schaepman, on 2 Jul 2020
As long as Rutte keeps asking to work at home if possible, a large part of the people really stay at home. Even with all the measures that companies have taken in the meantime: plexiglass is sold out pretty much everywhere, there’s almost not enough signage and the disinfection standards are sold like hotcakes. And even more so, if I look at the situation in the supermarkets, or at the packed airplanes (!), I think the office is the safest place. So, why isn’t there a green light yet from our government?
Nobody stands up in our industry. All the real estate men and women are still in the bleachers. Every branch got a little bit of air by now, after they’ve made themselves heard. One demonstration after another, and with results. Sports schools are open again, events are allowed to start again gradually, and even the hospitality industry has been given permission to open with adjustments (and serving that drink on 1.5M is really not possible). But the employees in the service industry have to stay at home. But we don't hear anything about that.
And honestly, I think that’s ridiculous. The gross domestic product in the first quarter of 2020 already decreased by 1.5% compared to the previous quarter (according to CBS calculations), and that will decrease even further in the second quarter. Of course, there are scenarios, those of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) use a substantial margin - from -3.4% to -11.8% -, the CPB expects -6.4% and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects -8.0% to -10.0%. Not a good outlook. Not to mention the employment numbers.
And when you consider that business services account for a large part of GDP, surely you also conclude that we shouldn't stay at home together at all? Of course, one or two days of working from home is a good thing. But you're a lot more productive when you're looking for balance, when you get your daily dose of social contact at the coffee machine, and when you can look your colleagues in the eye again. Let's face it: working from home isn’t what we want. That 'office chair' is going to hurt, you've washed your jogging pants to death, and you've seen your colleague's cat often enough during the zoom meetings.
Last week, during our 'Tribes Spring Conference' (yes, spring, because we had to postpone it because of corona), I noticed it again. We got together with 32 colleagues; in a large room neatly at 1.5M, and how wonderful it was. At that moment you really form a team again, no digital connection can compete with that. As one of our colleagues very aptly said at the end of the conference: 'the best thing of these days was to be together'. And that's what I wish for everyone in the business services industry: a team spirit. It gives you energy. Ready to rumble. All noses back in the same direction. We're all going to work more efficiently and effectively, and that's good for the GDP again.
Now is the time for our industry to join forces and make a point so that people want and dare to come back to the office. So, real estate men & women; let's take the office chair to The Hague, shall we?