Community News

Dutch Public News Broadcaster NOS features GÉANT Walk and Talk initiative

GÉANT CEO Erik Huizer and employee Vidya Ambadipudi, software developer at GÉANT

Ensuring mental health and wellbeing of employees has been one of the biggest challenges that remote work posed to companies worldwide throughout 2020.

The Dutch Public News Broadcaster NOS had a look at how different organisations based in the Netherlands are tackling the issue, by asking to Inger Kammeraat, head of the architectural firm MVRDV, John Aartsen of Central Care Installaties and GÉANT’s CEO Erik Huizer.

Walk and Talks at GÉANT

Following the recommendations from the Dutch government to work from home as much as possible, GÉANT’s office in Amsterdam has been closed for months. “There was no 100 percent need to be in the office, so we closed the doors.” – says Erik Huizer.

However, we also noticed a general tendency to get lonely faster while working from home, so we decided to organise Walk and Talks, in which each week GÉANT employees – in varying compositions – take an hour for a walk together.

Today I spoke to seven colleagues in real life and at the same time took 35,000 steps” says Huizer.

According to him, loneliness is constantly lurking: “We employ a lot of expats, for which colleagues quickly feel like family. Now that they probably won’t be able to go to their families abroad for Christmas, I think it is getting more complicated“.

Constantly working from home is therefore starting to take its toll, admits Huizer. “Online you often only discuss official matters. But trust and motivation are actually built up by discussing hobbies and home situations face-to-face with each other. That is why I am thinking of opening the office again for small clubs from January.”


The full article is available in Dutch on NOS.nl: https://nos.nl/artikel/2358916-bedrijven-worstelen-met-thuiswerken-mentale-gesteldheid-is-ook-belangrijk.html