Companies react to COVID-19

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Brabant companies have reacted differently to the Dutch Health Department’s (RIVM) call to work from home, if possible. One company is doing 80% of its work at home, while at another, it is business as usual. This is what six major employers in Brabant are doing.

Tuesday was a lot quieter than usual at the healthcare provider, CZ’s head office. On a regular workday, there are around 1,200 employees in the building in Tilburg. That number was reduced to 400 on Tuesday.

According to a spokesman, these employees have jobs that have to be done on-site. The fact that the head office is now at only one-third capacity, is not causing any problems. The spokesperson also states that CZ has been encouraging its employees to work more from home for a few years now.

80% at home

The wealth management company, Van Lanschot, has asked the employees from the Brabant offices to work from home if possible. Most of those employees did so. “Approximately 500 people work for us in Brabant. Around 80% of them are working from home now. I expect that more people will do so”, says a spokesperson. “We practised working from home extensively last week.”

At Swinkels Family Brewers in Lieshout, where Bavaria  is brewed, Rutte’s call was heeded. Bavaria intends to have its employees at home as much as possible. “We are doing this as a precaution so the virus cannot spread any further. As far as we know, no staff has been infected yet,” says a spokesperson.

Some companies still had plenty of people at work on Tuesday. “It is certainly not dead here at the office,” says a spokesman for the industrial company, the VDL Group, in Eindhoven. “We are currently looking into how we will cope with the situation. For a company of our size, this is fairly complicated”. According to the spokesperson, quite a few worried employees are calling to ask what to do.

DAF Trucks

A spokesperson for DAF Trucks also says it is not quiet in that office. “The workers simply keep working. Production is also running smoothly.”

At Philips Healthcare has 8, 500 employees throughout Brabant. Those who can work from home, have been asked to do so. A company spokesperson is, however, not sure of the numbers.

“Those who work in production, maintenance or the supply chain continue to come to wor. As do those who have to visit hospitals, for example. But all precautions are being taken. The goal is to find a balance between providing a safe working environment and a good health-care system”.

Call widely heeded

According to Studio040, The RIVM’s advice to work from home is being widely followed in the region. Industrial areas are considerably quieter than usual. Parking lots have plenty of available spaces. According to the regional department of employers’ organisation VNO-NCW, companies make their own decisions. They usually follow the call: whoever can work from home does so.

Not all work can be done at home though. For example, someone from a cleaning company from Oosterhout wrote yesterday, “Working from home will probably work fine at Zuidas in Amsterdam, but it is challenging here in the production region of Brabant”.

At the accountancy and law firm, WVDB, most employees will be working from home for the near future. According to the company’s director, Robèrt Molenaar, this is not the ideal situation. But having a laptop and a telephone could keep things going for a while.

Molenaar is concerned about the longer-term implications. “It must not last too long because then the work will dry up. Having contact with the customer is an important part of our business. If that contact remains limited, it is bad for business”.

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translator: Shufei

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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