Mathilde van der Schors has been working in the Marketing & Communication department at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She lives in Groningen, and because of the lockdowns she has never been on campus in the flesh.
Mathilde van der Schors was doing a Master's in Marketing Management in Groningen, where she also lives. In the summer she applied for a research and consultancy position at Erasmus University. She wanted to move to the Randstad but due to the corona situation she still works entirely from home.
You've never been to the campus?
"I thought: first I’ll find a job, then I’ll look for a house. In the summer I applied for the job and we held online interviews. But I didn't want to move to a new city in the middle of a lockdown, then it's quite difficult to build up a social life. The EUR was okay with me working from home at first. Then came the second lockdown, which we are still in. So I still don't know where my office is, except through the virtual campus. A colleague who did spend some time on campus filmed what my workspace looks like. That was the first time I saw where I'm going to work."
"An online meeting has a purpose, it runs efficiently. But you do miss the chatter about this and that"
And what are your future plans?
"It is still my intention to look for an apartment in the Randstad! At the same time, I assume that working from home will remain partly the norm, and that most people will work two or three days on campus and otherwise at home in the future."
You started this job all digital. What was the biggest challenge?
"In the beginning I thought, how am I going to start? When you're in the office you can have a chat with people, they can help you get started. I was alone behind my screen, which was alienating. My solution was to actively look people up online. With a list of all the employees in the department next to me, I approached everyone for an introductory chat in Teams.
Working online is very business-like. A meeting has a purpose, so it runs efficiently. But you do miss the chatter about this and that. That's why I organised an online Friday afternoon drink with the department, so we could talk about things other than work."
Is there an advantage to this situation?
"I have a motor disability on my left side, which makes me slightly less mobile. Biking in the city can be difficult. And coming back and forth to campus for five days would take a lot of energy. So I gratefully embraced the possibilities of working from home. But as soon as I can, I'd like to meet my colleagues in person. Quietly, I'll start looking for a place to live. For now, I have all the time I need, I believe."