‘Homeworking remains the norm for the Netherlands’, announced the Dutch prime minister this week. I’ve always been a great fan of homeworking. It offers a degree of flexibility that is very welcome in a busy life. It makes it possible to have a plumber come to visit without having to take a day off. To accompany a group on your child’s school trip and make up the time in the evening. To attend a late meeting and still be on time for dinner. Nor is the benefit only on the home side. For tasks requiring undisturbed concentration for a long time, homeworking (assuming the absence of children) is ideal). Also, heavy snowfall or gridlock don’t have to prevent work, and meetings with colleagues or clients in different time zones are more feasible. All in all, I think it benefits both sides to be flexible about homeworking, and I’ve always been stunned by how much trouble friends and family have in persuading their employers to allow them to work from home. Since corona, however, I find myself in a strange position – that of advocating a return to the office.
I hate clothes shopping, and I loathe throwing away clothes. As a consequence, I detest fashion. The idea that I should regularly change the contents of my wardrobe according to the whims of some shadowy dictator (who decides these things, anyway?) seems like madness. Unfortunately, any time I do need new clothes, I can’t escape the tentacles of the fashion industry. Finding what I want is a gruelling and sometimes fruitless search, as the shops are filled for 90% with the limited array of colours and styles that are ‘in’. The rest of the time, however, I successfully ignore fashion.
It was the beginning of March. The corona virus was wreaking havoc abroad, but here it seemed to be something only over-zealous HR policymakers were worrying about. Then, on the twelfth, we received the shock announcement that we would have to work from home until the end of the month. Three days later, the schools […]
Hollywood specializes in clear endings. Logical, when you have to attract people to cinemas, keep them enthralled, and then boot them out again two hours later, happily sated, so that the next group can go in. While it’s not the norm anymore to finish with ‘The End’ in giant letters, it is still pretty much […]
After years of daydreaming through deadly boring history lessons at school, full of dates, lists and dry information sheets, I dropped the subject as soon as I got the chance. Now, in later life, I’ve discovered a liking for it. History brings together two of my great passions – hearing stories, and discovering ‘why’. But […]
I have always dreamed of having an adventure. As a child, I adored adventure books. I fantasized having escapades like the Famous Five, being kidnapped and helping to capture the dastardly villains behind it all. Or disappearing off into nature to camp, go sailing, pan for gold and dig up hidden pearls, like the Swallows […]
Running along the wall of our dining room is a large dresser, the end cupboard of which is almost filled by photo albums. Ever since the birth of our first daughter, we have selected the best of our digital photographs and had them printed in albums. Albums for summer holidays, albums for short breaks and […]
Separated from each other for months now, many teams at my work have adopted scrum-style ‘stand-ups’ to stay in touch. These are brief meetings in which everyone has a chance to tell what they have done, what they plan to do, and if there are any problems they need help with. Last week, that third […]
On the 21st of April, the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte held a press conference to announce changes to the measures against the corona virus. In his introduction, he emphasized many times the ‘duivelse dilemma’s’ (devilish dilemmas) he had faced in deciding the appropriate course of action. I sympathised completely. Weighing up the pressures of […]
As a young teenager, I begged my parents to buy me the Magic-8 ball. You could ask the ball yes-no questions, and then, when you turned it upside down, one of 20 possible answers would float up against the small plastic window – ‘Signs point to yes’, ‘My reply is no’, ‘Better not tell you […]