Working from home is not new. Now everyone is a 'home worker' - also in public transport, the taxi sector, target group transport and in the coach sector. There are 'incidental' teleworkers and then there are 'structural' teleworkers. Since 'The New Working 'attracted attention from 2000 onwards, it is customary to go home from the office with a laptop and smartphone. To manage this easily, workshops and tools have been developed to ensure that you can work effectively at home and still have a productive day. 

Thanks to COVID-19, the peace and tranquility of working from home has changed dramatically. Even if you are alone and don't have children who are at home all the time, it will still affect your productivity. If you have a dog they will be happy, although they may not appreciate too many 'alibi walks'. If you have cats, they ask after a while to leave 'their' house and give them some rest. And when you are alone, do you become lonely?

What if you have a partner and / or children at home who are all trying to 'work'? Creating your own structure for a day of working from home is challenging enough, managing the people around you is practically impossible. 

Stop, think, plan

Don't just grab the laptop, sit back in your favorite chair and think that's it. A special workspace means you can leave it, close the door, close your drawers, cover your work and end your day. Do you have a spare room? Awesome! If not, what about finding a space under the stairs or in a closet? If several roommates need a space in a small house, what about dividing the dining table into zones? Then use painter's tape to mark boundary lines.

Buy a comfortable chair. These are delivered at work, but since we have no idea how long we will be working from home, it is worth making a small investment in your back. See who is open online and have the home work chair delivered.

Make a timetable and stick it on the fridge. The business day starts after everyone has got up, dressed up and had breakfast (Do you think you will be working in pajamas? More about that later). Build in coffee and practice breaks and, of course, lunch. Both school and work have these structures and there is no need to change your structure. The important thing is to plan when you want to end the day. Just because you're at home doesn't mean you have to work all hours of the day.

If you use an electronic calendar, use it more often. This gives you focus and provides security for your colleagues. Discover how the task function works and plan what you need to work on today, tomorrow and next week…


Using a closet helps here, because then there isn't much to distract you. Wear headphones that cover your ears. No, it doesn't have to be connected to music. Depending on the age of your children (longer with older children) you play the '10 minute silence challenge '(definitely use a timer). It's amazing how many emails you can finish in ten minutes.

Create rules in your email to see (or completely remove) the distracting but fascinating emails from Netflix, Albert Heijn, your favorite clothing store and so on.

If you need to write a report, schedule a presentation, do the bills, or challenge yourself to focus for 25 minutes and tell the people around you, consider setting a Do Not Disturb time window where you are free and can work without interruptions.

Whose job is more important?

That's a tough one. Do you work with your partner and discuss deadlines, responsibilities, home education and meals? "I cook dinner while you help with the math." "You can make lunch while I do geography." Each their own strengths.

If your job means you're on the phone a lot or holding video conferences, a separate area from your partner will help. Discuss the problem before it becomes an issue.

Video conferencing

No matter what kind of job you have. You have to practice and be ready. Being caught on camera in your pajamas will not enhance your credibility. Being dressed as if you are working puts you in 'work mode'. I know you can turn the video off, but what impression does that give to the others? People communicate better when they talk face-to-face.

What else can everyone see during such a video call? Often only the top of your head and the ceiling if you do not position the camera properly (it is at the top of your screen). Or several double chins if you are relaxing on the couch. Maybe they see the dirty dishes behind you in the kitchen or piles of books and magazines and photos.

I know it's your house and you like your own environment, but just as we should in the office, make sure your background in a video call says the right things about you. The technology gives us the opportunity to set a false background. A Caribbean island scene? These can get a bit annoying over time, try the out-of-focus background option if available. Lighting is also important, do not sit with your back to the window, you are simply a silhouette beyond recognition. Take a desk lamp for good light from the side.

You have to practice with these tools. Believe me. If you are organizing meetings, 30 minutes for a 1: 1 (one to one) is sufficient and 45 minutes for a small group. You should keep participants motivated to listen and not answer emails in the meantime. If you are the one who listens, remember that everyone can see you and sometimes in great detail!

You should preferably be alone during a video call. It is amazing how young children and cats like to participate. However, the bathroom is not a good option. Try the bedroom but make sure the bed is made.

Do not forget to check whether you show too much of your interior with expensive or striking items to others. Often there are also things in your house that someone else has nothing to do with. First check that on the screen.


The biggest challenge of working from home is keeping in touch with your team and the workflow process. We can all too easily think that we really work alone, so the need for frequent communication is essential, especially for managers. Put your plan for the day or week in your electronic calendar, make arrangements with yourself to help you focus and act as an instant reporting tool for your colleagues at the same time. Make sure you share calendars and that all private appointments are included and clearly marked as 'private'. Organize meetings and coffee breaks with colleagues, just like you do in the office. Discuss 'office politics' with them, not with your partner!

Lower your expectations

What? I know, I just suggested planning and structuring your day, letting your kids sit at the table and behave and not let your cat sleep on your keyboard… .. BUT home work life won't be perfect. It is a difficult and unknown environment for everyone. Do your best to feel that you are in control of things. And - especially now - stay safe in your own home. Take time to cuddle the kids, the cat and everyone you live with and send virtual hugs to others.

I see you on the other side of the screen and of this crisis ... Good luck working from home!

Essential security tips:

“Security is also very important when working from home”, says Jeroen Saey, Software engineer Censys BV.

  • It is not the intention that intruders can access company data through your home workplace. Make sure to use a secure WiFi connection that is password protected (preferably use a cable connection).
  • To access all your business documents from home, it is wise to use an extra secure connection. This connection is set up using a VPN. As a result, your home workplace is securely connected to the office and you can work as if you were in the office.
  • Make sure you have installed a virus scanner that is up to date. This is wise because you can be sure that you will not receive or send viruses to the office.
  • It is recommended that you keep your computer up to date with the latest security updates. Therefore, make sure that you have installed all the latest updates for your computer (software and hardware).
  • Do not open unknown email links or attachments. This prevents attempts to install viruses on your computer.

Also read: Working from home requires smart software for taxi companies

Katie Challans, Challans & Faber Business Communications BV, Brussels

In addition to her work as a graphic designer, Katie provides training in communication techniques and workflow management for organizations in the private and public sector. Since “The New Way of Working” started, Katie has trained participants over the Internet. Especially now this skill is invaluable because the personal contact has temporarily disappeared. A program recently developed by Katie, originally designed for the European Court of Auditors, "How do I work effectively at home?" has suddenly become very popular.

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