13 May 2019 • Gideon Wille
First doubts, now satisfaction with new workspace
Before the renovations of Nutrition and Dietetics, psychology lecturer, Cora van Waveren-Brandt, had her doubts. The stories she had heard about flex working were not very promising. But now she has been working like this for two years. Is she pleased?
Other, more activating types of education that require different classrooms and more efficient use of the existing space (to continue flex work) are the reasons why all our courses received new accommodations. Three years ago, the entire learning and work environment of Nutrition and Dietetics was completely renovated based on the Accommodations Master Plan.
Yvonne de Haas, now Skin Therapy Training Manager, was the Accommodations and Education project leader from the degree programme Nutrition and Dietetics. “Our degree programme was third in line. I paid close attention to see what I could learn from the other degree programmes and made sure to get broad support by involving the students and lecturers.”
Yvonne explains that it was quite an exciting process. “We worried if there would be enough places. But everything worked out; people don’t have to arrive extra early in the morning just to grab a spot.”
“You see that people all have a personal preference for a certain area. We have three quiet workspaces and one silent area. People more or less have their own regular spots, but you cannot claim these.”
Cora van Waveren-Brandt
Cora and Yvonne were both in the project group for new accommodations. “To be honest I was quite sceptical. In these new plans we would lose our room, our spot. The students knew where to find me. Would this change? Also, I was afraid about continually getting a new spot. And I wondered if I would be able to concentrate well in the new spaces. I had heard all kinds of wild stories from my brother who flex works at Prorail. At his office there is a regular shortage of space.”
In practice the flex working wasn’t bad at all. “First it was a bit of searching. I really had to get used to sharing everything. You have to clean everything up. You have two shelves and that’s it.”
“But I also saw some advantages. We had a large team that was spread out over an entire corridor. You had to walk down the entire corridor to find someone. Now we have a lot more contact, we consult each other more often. You get to know people better.”
It seemed that colleagues all had a preference for one of the four workspaces. According to Cora, “Everything worked out eventually, and it doesn’t really matter that much which desk you sit at. You do have to agree on some rules. For example, you can talk to each other, but if your phone rings, you leave the area to answer it. The same applies when you meet with a student. No meetings at your desk, or you ask your colleagues first. Each area has its own set of rules.” And has she ever had to fight someone for a desk? “It rarely ever happens that you cannot find a spot.”
This is the second article in a series of two. The first article provides an overview of the organisation behind the Accommodations Master Plan. For more information on the Master Plan, please see the intranet.
What do students think of the new accommodations?
Danielle Jansen, third-year student in Nutrition and Dietetics, is pleased with the Ankerpunt, the large open space where she can work with fellow students on a project and where students and teachers can get together.
“For every block we do a group project. We are now working on a loaf of bread with some insect meal. It has to be a healthy and sustainable product for a competition in the Nutrition Centre. To test the products, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s wonderful to have this space. Here we have all the facilities that we require.”
“I really like working in the Ankerpunt; the colours are beautiful and there is a lot of space. That is needed because the alternative, the library, is often very full, especially when examinations come around. This is a great spot to work in small groups and to have discussions. What I do miss is a space to work in silence.”