No shortage of ICU beds, but a shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists?
by Eduard Schaepman, on 21 May 2020
Steven van Weyenberg D66 and Paul Smeulders of GroenLinks want to include a right to work from home in the law. I can only hope that this won’t get through, and that they will think about the impact of this on mental health. Of course, it’s nice that you don’t have to travel, that you’re not disturbed by your colleagues, and that you can do some laundry. But there are also a lot of downsides, and we can’t just ignore them.
Starting with the ride home, that we use to end the day. To exchange the role of manager or director, or whatever your position is, into your role as a partner or parent. At home, you have just a few seconds for that switch: while closing your laptop.
We can’t communicate non-verbally at home either. Try reading someone's body language when you only have a head and shoulders in your screen. All of a sudden, we only use 2 senses, sight and sound, while the rest is just as important in a conversation.
Working at home also requires a lot of discipline. Not everyone can concentrate with children dancing and jumping around them. This doesn't only apply to parents: a pet, bright sunshine, or a ringing dishwasher can cause just as much distraction.
Not to mention the RSI complaints, which many will develop because they do not have an ergonomically correct workplace. That workplace is preferably in a separate room, so that your work and private life can be separated a little bit, but how many people have a spare room they can turn into an office? Mentally ending your working day and moving into a different role becomes even more difficult when you replace your laptop with your plate of potatoes.
But the most important matter is the social interaction you miss when you don't come to the office. That cup of coffee at the vending machine is so much more than that. It creates a sense of connection; it makes teams stronger and it gives people - all social animals - energy. Isolation and disconnection are lurking for homeworkers, which will eventually lead to a burn-out.
But without travel time, we have less traffic jams, cleaner air, and more time for ourselves. We have more time for sports (to boost your immune system) and more time for the kids. So yes, there are absolute benefits.
The conclusion is: working from home is certainly an option, but only working from home or only at the office is really not desirable. And let politicians do the politics, and entrepreneurs do the business... So as far as I'm concerned, we're going to a combination. We take the advantages of working from home and the advantages of the office. So, we do the administration, emails and planning from home, and we meet at the office (at your ergonomic workplace). This can be done, for example, by rotating colleagues: with a team of 200 employees, you can have 100 employees working from home every other day and 100 at the office.
And yes, we can set that up for you too! Fully equipped with everything you need, with safe 1.5 M safe zones, plexiglass and signage. Call 0800 22 55 874 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll think along with you!