The hybrid work situation requires a health-and-safety-proof home working space. Jan Smits, dean of the Faculty of Law and chairman of the ‘The Future of [email protected]’ working group, already stated in Observant a couple of weeks ago that the investment in furniture and devices – a considerable expense item in the budget – was necessary due to the university’s “duty of care”. Although the university hopes that the first desks and chairs can be ordered at the beginning of April, the question remains whether they can be delivered quickly, keeping in mind the world-wide supply problems. Point of departure is that items become the property of the employee.
The working group argued for a digital work space: a laptop and a mobile telephone with a subscription. According to project manager Cyriel Heuts, it is up to the faculties/administrative units. “The Corporate Information Office is in the process of developing a business case around the introduction of a Digital Standard Equipment that is suited to hybrid working.”
In the meantime, work is being done on a ‘model agreement for hybrid working’, a kind of contract between employer and manager that will state the number of days to be worked from home, availability, accessibility and compensation of travel or working-from-home expenses. “Working from home is not a right, but it is not compulsory either,” Smits recently emphasised. It is up to every employee to decide what is best for them. There is a guideline: three days at the UM and two days at home in the case of a full-time appointment. But this will always be a tailor-made solution. Staff such as caretakers, researchers in the lab, or receptionists cannot work from home. And the situation for cross-border workers, who work in the Netherlands and live abroad, is more complicated because of the social security system (a committee of government representatives from EU countries decided to extend the temporary regulation until the end of June 2022).