“An empty campus actually still generates a lot of work”
Real Estate & Facilities arranges the management and maintenance of buildings on the Woudestein, EUC and ISS campus, all facilities and security, so that everyone can perform optimally. At this moment, director Marijke Weustink also works from home. But she doesn't sit still.
"We are responsible for the development of new buildings. For the maintenance, management and renovation of buildings that are there. And for facility management, from mail and security to cleaning and catering. And, of course, for making sure there are facilities on campus, such as the food plaza and the Studystore".
And now that most of the people work or study from home – is work at a standstill for you?
"Nothing stands still. The maintenance of the buildings continues, the cleaning continues. And when it's quiet, more security is needed. For example, security now also monitors whether people comply with the corona rules. The new building projects are not at a standstill either. And on top of the regular work, we had to make all the buildings suitable for the 1.5-metre society. This involved, among other things: placing posters up to plans to adapt the classrooms, study areas and communal areas".
Will this (or a next?) pandemic be taken into account in new buildings?
"The two new construction projects in progress were already geared to flexibility. We are building a new sports building, there is not much to adapt. And a new Polak, that project is already equipped for flexible education and study".
Do all the buildings need to be adapted, if people continue to work from home?
"In collaboration with HR and IT services, we are already developing a blended working policy. And that may ultimately lead to a different vision of our office concept. The conversation is now about facilitating working from home. But also about which IT facilities are needed for this, and how the real estate should be arranged. In the context of work pressure you can say: we want people to find a nice balance, that the benefits of working from home can continue to exist, and that we can facilitate that".
And how do you see this for students?
"A first-year Law lecture with a thousand students requires a different kind of space than a workgroup in which five students have to work together. There are students who swear by the serene peace and quietness of the library, and students who can study better in Tinbergen with some more noise. We take into account that things will change in the coming years, and buildings regularly don't change by themselves. On occasion it’s quite a quest: how can we adapt the real estate, or what are suitable alternatives?".