By: Michiel Scheeren
Yes, yes, but Corona is not finished with us, I can hear Rutte and De Jonge answering. And of course they are right. Things are going well in the Netherlands, yet we must remain alert. But the question is: What is “staying alert”? All the inconsistencies in the relaxations have made it very difficult for all of us. And the bottom line is that ‘staying alert’ is open to many individual interpretations.
As an employer this question constantly haunts you. We have to work from home as much as possible, unless there is no other option. But what exactly is that “unless there is no other option”?
We all know the phrase ‘act in the spirit of the law, but not to the letter of the law’. I think that the Corona era is forcing us to look at all the advice and act in this way. Science doesn’t offer an answer. It says, “we don’t know, so don’t take any risks.” It might as well say, “Go bankrupt and just disrupt society, because we don’t know.” Science has no answer. Unless you listen to Maurice de Hond, because he says he has scientific evidence that shows that the medical and biological scientists are wrong. A cry in the wilderness, but that is not surprising. If you consider the RIVM and the OMT to be people you shouldn’t take seriously, you can’t expect them to take you seriously.
So back to the ‘spirit and the letter’. In other words, use your common sense. How sacred is that 1.5 meters? The point is not breathing in each other’s faces, isn’t it? When I walk in the supermarket, I notice that when I pass people, I turn my back to them. No respiratory contact, so no transfer. In this context, 1.5 meters is nothing more than a metaphor that should make it clear that you must not spray each other with damp breath.
The next dilemma is “unless there is no other way” (going to work, that is). But we can go to the pub, the amusement park, play sports, sit close together in an airplane, etc. But we have to wait a while to go to work to ensure that the most important precondition for a good society, namely improving the economy, is fulfilled.
Many companies have discovered that you can also work even if you can’t see each other physically. With regular video calls from the living room, it’s all possible. Not really, I would say. As a communication agency, you have to be able to spar, play ping pong with each other (and I don’t mean the game), be able to discuss continuously changing priorities and keep each other up to speed on what’s expected. And although we have experienced positive things from working at home, the past months also have taught me that this takes a considerable amount of energy. That people do their best to do the job as well as possible, but they are too absorbed in their own bubble and therefore have less regard for each other. And that’s why things go wrong. Misunderstandings, irritations and frustrations arise. And we don’t want that, because that is when the work suffers, which puts the quality that we insist on for our customers at risk.
And that’s why we’re starting back at the office again on July 6. In a Corona-safe setting, where the 1.5 meter philosophy has (even literally) a place. Where we can start building a feeling of ‘we do it together’ again. Without breathing on each other, but acting with common sense according to the spirit of the advice.