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5 November 2020

Inge Willems on working from home

"I can now use my commuting time to jog in the morning before I start work."

Only a few of us can go back to the office. Inge Willems, an employee of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, will also have to work from home for the next few months as students are currently following online education. Her golden tip: ‘Spend the time that you have gained because of working from home on things you like or which you are passionate about. Each morning, I go jogging before I start work’.

Inge focuses on the positives of working from home. ‘I am really passionate about jogging. I already did it prior to working from home, but now I have more time for it. My entire family like sports. My husband is also currently working from home and does not need to travel to his work in Amsterdam each day. We have breakfast together, eat lunch together, and even – when the schools were closed – went on lunchtime walks together. Each evening we are on time to have dinner together.’ These may seem like small things, but to Inge they are luxuries: ‘Previously, we had very busy lives. While our lives are still busy, we spend more moments together and we're really enjoying it’.

Optimal way to work

In March, when it became clear that everyone had to stay home, Inge immediately got to work. ‘As an internship coordinator, I started on a very busy period. All our students’ internships were cancelled immediately. I wanted to schedule my working days in the best way possible. I got myself an extra computer screen and a good desk chair. Additionally, I had calls to my work phone number forwarded to my mobile phone. If someone called me and I was unable to answer, then they would be able to leave a message on my voicemail’.

Mind map provides structure

Because of the busy period at work, Inge looked to create more structure in working from home – both for her and for her family. Inge made a mind map for her children and husband: ‘I used colours, symbols, and times to make sure that everybody in the house quickly knew what was on the schedule and when. If I took a short break and then quickly wanted to get back to work, the kids dutifully told me off. They'd say, “Mum, your break is until 11:00 AM.”’

Fitchallenge with the kids

Three times a week, Inge heads off before the dawn to go on her jog. ‘This ensures that I will be home in time for breakfast with the family. After that, we start our respective work and school days at 8:30 AM.’ Inge also managed to get a friend to join her on her jogs. ‘We built it up slowly, now we can easily go for a twelve-kilometre jog in the neighbourhood’. During lockdown, her children participated with her: ‘A number of times each week, we would do a fitchallenge. We would run a lap around the neighbourhood and I would set up a little course on the grass field in front of our house’.

Online team day

Inge does miss the social contacts with her colleagues. ‘I replace that with online calls. Each of us has their own channel on the BlueJeans online meeting platform. It is a safe and secure environment in which we share documents with one another and can have online meetings together. The online team day was quite a special experience. Each of us received a parcel that we were not allowed to open until instructed to do so during the online meeting. The parcel contained a Bol.com voucher, a bag with tea, and a Tony's Chocolonely chocolate bar. Everybody received a chocolate bar with a specific colour. We then had to form groups based on the colour of our chocolate bars. Each colour group was instructed to move to their own channel to work on a group assignment. Afterwards, we joined one big group to share our ideas.’

Want to keep exercising?

If you were inspired by Inge and want to cycle more often, then read our tips on purchasing a new bicycle with tax benefit. If you already have a bicycle and are looking for a nice new route to explore, then check out the list of stunning autumn routes that Visit Maastricht gave us.