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Exclusive: Barco director on her WFH experiences

Isabelle De Wulf, director talent & organisational development at Barco on her WFH experiences

Has WFH helped you achieve work life balance? If yes, what changes have you made, if no, why not?
Yes, for me and for many other colleagues, WFH has helped us to find a better balance. Yet, the way we were forced by local measures to WFH on an almost daily basis, was too much. We are really looking forward in having a more healthy balance between working from home and working in the office and receiving the flexibility to plan this together with my management.

What have you found hardest about remote working during the pandemic?
The face-to-face interactions with colleagues and not only the formal meetings but definitely the informal gatherings, chats at the coffee corner, having lunch together. And definitely the brainstorm sessions are so much easier and more valuable when you can meet in person. So our creativity and innovative thinking is stimulated at the office, next to our feeling of belonging to a team. There are for sure the difficulties we experience to connect in remote and hybrid meetings. Not hearing all the nuances, not seeing body language or facial expressions in discussions, makes communication harder. Hybrid has emotional challenges, next to the sometimes more obvious technical ones.

What impact has the pandemic had on your physical, mental, medical, emotional and social health?
I think this is very personal. Everyone has experienced this in a different way. My colleagues with small children, present at home during working hours had a tough time. I had more difficulties in the beginning with the back-to-back meetings, not being able to move or disconnect in between my meetings. So we discussed this in our team and agreed on some rules (for instance, no meetings during lunch hours, we end a meeting 5 min earlier to have a short break.

What could businesses do to help improve remote working conditions?
Invest in hybrid work is essential. In policies, in office design and in technology. We want to make it easier for people to connect no matter where they are. Tech can help to remove the virtual barriers and make hybrid communication easy and seamless, just like in face-to-face communication. Hybrid is here to stay, so why not incorporate in our company culture, digital tools & values?

Click here to see what Barco are doing, as a company, to look after its staff in the new WFH era, in our huge 21-company wellbeing roundtable.