When must you work? 

Two years ago there were few VHP2 members who could imagine what was specifically meant by this question. It wasn't really relevant to their job. But then COVID-19 came along and for many of our members this question was suddenly very topical.

When must you work?

Two parents who both work have two children of 4 and 6 years old or of 14 and 16 years old. When they go to school everything is quite easy to organise, except when the school closes and parents have to work at home. The first conclusion is that suddenly a lot of work, that previously always had to be done in the office or on the shop floor, can now suddenly be done on an office table at home. Finding a suitable way of working takes some time and that is quite difficult to organise with two parents who both work at home. When then, to cap it all, the school also closes everything becomes even more difficult.

During the day it is practically impossible for both partners to work. Children already have to work at home on their homework from group 1. This requires guidance, encouragement, reward and above all attention. This continues until, at the end of such a day at home, even the youngest children often don't want to go to bed till after 8 o'clock. The working day only starts for some of our members when the children are in bed. How long can you keep that up, even if you have a perfect desk and an excellent coffee maker? So, are you able to answer the question of when you must work?

At VHP2 we support flexibility and freedom of choice for our members. We welcome the fact that they can arrange their working hours for themselves and, if they so desire, also plan a part of their working day outside normal office hours. Such freedom does justice to the qualities of the professional that we have as members. At the same time we want to ensure that our members remain fit and healthy during and through their work; that it gives them energy. It is exactly this second aspect that is causing problems at this time. This is due to a great extent because it is no longer the free choice of the employee to shift the working hours to the evening. It is the necessity to be productive during a period that the children demand all the time during the day. It is unfortunately now abundantly clear that not everybody is able to cope with such a compulsory shift of their working hours.

VHP2 therefore appeals to employers to be careful with their human capital and where possible make good agreements with employees who are not able to work optimally in the home situation. On the other hand it is the own responsibility of the employee to make clear during discussions with their manager that there is a problem and together align the expectations for the coming period. It is the employer's job to prepare the managers for this and provide room for agreements that will possibly slightly lower productivity in the short term in exchange for a more stable long-term perspective.

VHP2 is there for its members, also during this time; please contact us if you have any questions.

VHP2, going further, together

Hans van Sprang
Chairman of the Board