Back to normal, back to offline! Is it really going to happen again? All of a sudden I feel the energy flowing again between the countless video calls. I really missed the social side of work and the energy that comes with it. Besides the vibe among colleagues, I also missed the dynamics of our communities. To be sure, the video calls with our FM Communities in which we exchanged knowledge about issues arising from Corona were also valuable. The urgency of sharing has never been more relevant. Still, online doesn’t get close to offline. As of 9 June we can organise our session for the Future Work in ‘real life’ again. The theme of this session couldn’t have been more pertinent: agility! In this connection Corine Dijkhuizen shares how she and her facilities department facilitate agility and flexibility in events venue Ahoy. And together with the participants of the Future Work Course, we zoom in on how we can facilitate the new normal in our work environment in a flexible way, in the short and long term.
Ahoy, from Song Contest to Hospital
I just spoke to Corine Dijkhuizen, facility services manager at the events venue Ahoy in Rotterdam. When events were no longer allowed to take place from March onwards, the message of the definitive cancellation of the Song Contest still came as a blow! I had fought hard to get that great event to Rotterdam, made preparations to excellently facilitate an event of such magnitude with European publicity… And then suddenly there’s Corona. Take it in, accept it, carry on, make the switch and be agile! They are used to a bit of versatility at Ahoy, but setting up a care ward with all the associated risks and challenges was completely new, even for Ahoy! Not comparable to a bubblegum pop concert with nervous mothers and bouncy children, a tennis tournament where complete silence is the norm during a match, or a ‘Vrienden van Amstel Live’ concert sponsored by a leading beer brand, with coaches full of visitors because nobody wants to be the designated driver that night! Really every event at Ahoy, whether small or large, requires a different approach in execution and branding. This requires maximum flexibility of the furnishing, furniture, service and agility of the staff.
Agile facilitation of working after Covid
Successfully responding to developments and continuous change required – even before Corona – different ways of working. Agile facilitation of work was already a theme. But did Corona speed this up and make us realise that people might be more flexible than we thought? Within a few weeks, digital and remote working suddenly proved possible and was widely accepted. Not always as much fun as we thought, because the past period has also made us realise that we indeed miss certain elements of the work environment and especially face-to-face contact. Flexibility will remain the norm for the time to come. Are we agile enough to once again organise and facilitate new ways of working, that are well-considered, safe and efficient? Not only for the weeks to come, but also in the somewhat longer term. Scaling down was very easy in the face of the crisis, but reboarding is already proving to be more complex. There is a danger that we will fall back into fixed and old patterns. How can we maintain the advantages of working digitally and remotely? And how can we turn the disadvantages into opportunities to create work environments that matter, are safe, enjoyable and stimulate productivity, health and job satisfaction?
A normal deep dive session, which was planned last year without knowing any better, now seems more topical than before. To be able to have offline conversations again in order to arrive at agile solutions. Probably with a lot of energy, energy that is typical of live encounters, and energy that we will be more aware of than ever during this special first session after Covid!
Of course for the time being with a maximum of 30 people and at 1.5 meters distance…