CIT staff feels pressured to go to work despite Covid

CIT staff feels pressured to go to work

The board of directors is telling employees to work from home as much as possible. But what if your department managers tell everyone they need them to come in to work one or two days a week?
23 September om 12:06 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.
September 23 at 12:06 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.

Door Giulia Fabrizi

23 September om 12:06 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.

By Giulia Fabrizi

September 23 at 12:06 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.

Giulia Fabrizi

Nieuwscoördinator Volledig bio » News coordinator Full bio »

This has concerned people at the CIT, the UG’s IT centre, since the start of the academic year. In late August, employees received an email containing instructions for the new year. It explained, among other things, what ‘working from home as much as possible’ meant at the CIT.

‘Combined with the general advice to work from home, depending on your tasks, you will have to work in the office two days a week. […] In any case, you will meet with your team or project team at least once a week to discuss work and the approach for starting and executing (new) projects’, the email reads. Doesn’t this go against the policy that says people should work from home as much as possible?

Teamwork

‘Teams should be able to get together to figure out issues’, says CIT director Ronals Stolk. ‘We’re asking our staff to come to the office. We’re not demanding it.’ This is in line with the UG’s principle; getting together is important and should be facilitated.

‘It’s important to meet up’, says UG spokesperson Jorien Bakker. ‘It’s a good thing if we can help make that happen again. Departments should be able to get together, as long as they obey the corona rules. But it’s certainly not mandatory.’

Nevertheless, some CIT employees felt the email was rather forceful. Stolk emphasises that this was not the intention. ‘But getting together in person might be even more important than before the corona crisis, since the pressure on our department has only increased since education has moved online.’

Solving problems

‘We provide a vital piece of infrastructure to the university’, says Stolk. ‘When something goes wrong during an online test or class, we have to solve it.’ When a lot of issues come in at once, it’s easier to solve them when you have a team that’s physically together. ‘Obviously, everyone can execute the solutions at home. In reality, that means that you’d work from home three to four days a week.’

CIT management has created a document that further explains the guidelines that apply to the department. ‘We discussed it informally with the employee council, but we’ve now submitted a written version for their formal approval. I expect they’ll come up with some additions. We’ll send the document to all our staff when it’s done.’

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