Interview with Anouk Steffens of YNNO, the organization that helps implement new ways of working.
Hi Anouk! How are you doing, how did you experience the past year?
Hi! In the beginning, it all went very smoothly, you get into the home working, and it was of course also a bit exciting. After a while, around the second wave, it became more boring. I had improved my workplace, from working in the living room I could move to a separate office. Yet I did miss my colleagues more and more. Now I go to clients more often, and that gives me energy.
It is March 16, and everyone is suddenly working at home. Was this a big change for you or did you already regularly work from home?
Working from home was already part of the policy at YNNO, so that was nothing new. The big change was within the structure with clients. We were no longer with one client for a full day. Suddenly we had several conversations with different clients in one day, because we were no longer location bound.
How did this transition to working from home go and what did the employees think of it?
So, we already had this in part. Our workplace is where our laptop is, so this went very silently. Now you do notice differences in opinion about working from home between colleagues. One would rather go back to customers for a few days where the other loves working at home and wants to continue this as much as possible.
What was the biggest challenge in the initial period of working from home?
The structure with the clients, when do you work for which client. We solved this by openly discussing with clients how we can best divide up our time. You also notice from customers that the many video calls have become normal.
Just set that alarm clock to stop working!
How do you encourage connection?
Friday was normally our office day focused on connection. We still have that now, just in a different way at home. For example, every Friday morning starts with a team meeting. This meeting always starts with a check-in round. Here you first tell how you are doing and that may not be about work but about you as a person. This has helped us to grow closer as colleagues and we know when a colleague needs support. At the end of the day, we have The Voice Of YNNO where an update is given, and this is also the starting signal for the Friday afternoon drinks and thus the weekend. Of course, the teams also do a lot together, such as a pub quiz.
How do you keep the balance between work and private life? What tip would you like to give to the working Dutchman?
Yes, good question, I notice that many people struggle with this. The only real tip I can give is structure, just set that alarm clock to stop working! Make this time clear to the team and discuss this, so no one will call you after that time and you feel no pressure to be busy with work in your private time.
What has structurally changed within your company during this period?
What has now structurally changed is that we no longer have to drive across the country for half an hour. Our clients now see that a short consultation or quick meetings of half an hour can also be held online, so we can structurally save the travel time for short meetings. That is one of the advantages that have come out of working from home and it is also good for the environment!
What other major benefit has the "new way of working" brought to your company?
We now have different contact with colleagues, you now sometimes go for a walk together and also really talk about mental health. It is a good development that we are now all aware of how important the vitality of a colleague is.
What has working from home made you realize the most yourself?
What I like most about my job! I'm even more sure now that I really get the energy from working with people to achieve their goals and ambitions. Also, the importance and function of the office and how important it is that your physical environment is supportive of the work you do!
Anouk, thank you!
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