Column Sjoukje Osinga: Back to the office

‘I loved working from home, but I had it too good there.’

The era of working from home is over. According to a survey by the Social Sciences Group, Leeuwenborch employees now want to spend 60 per cent of their time in the office again. I can’t say I’ve noticed. A lot of the floors are still dead quiet and even along my corridor there are often only a handful of colleagues present. It seems that most of them prefer to work at home after all.

How bad is that? You can read, write and grade papers just as well at home, at least if your house is big enough and there are no young children around. Discussions work fine online, but spontaneous conversations are a lot harder. Our chair group meetings are now offline again and compulsory, so nearly everyone comes in on those days. Isn’t it great to see your colleagues from head to toe again, to have lunch with them, or to pop in on them to sort out a few minor issues? No online meeting can beat that.

I myself have been back in the office every day since the summer. Not that I am not the home-working type – on the contrary, I love working from home. But I have a confession to make: I had it too good at home, what with all the yummy things in the kitchen, especially when the boys were around. I piled on the Covid kilos. As long as my BMI was still within the healthy range, I told myself I wasn’t going to worry about it. But I gradually reached and then went over that healthy limit and I felt something had to be done. Shouldn’t I cut down on carbs, or maybe try periodic fasting or something of the sort?

The solution turned out to be much simpler. My method has just two rules. One: go to the office every day again, preferably by bike. Two: take your own lunch. That’s all. WUR fruit is provided, but that is allowed. But no further snacking is permitted. The canteen is only open for a few hours, so you can’t grab a muffin at four o’clock anymore. Now I am back to my pre-Covid weight. So I can thoroughly recommend a return to the office. And free heating is thrown in, too.

Sjoukje Osinga (55) is an assistant professor of Information Technology. She sings alto in the Wageningen chamber choir Musica Vocale, has three sons who are students and enjoys birdwatching with her husband in the Binnenveldse Hooilanden.

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