What lessons can we learn from the coronavirus shutdown?

Last week, the government finally made the announcement we’ve all been waiting for: the university can begin reopening their doors, and we can return to our offices. By the end of the week, most administrative employees will have been informed when they will be able to return by their immediate supervisor.

2020.05.27 | Arnold Boon

As we begin to reestablish a more or less normal working day after two and a half months at home, it’s important that we remember to ask ourselves what lessons the coronavirus shutdown has to teach us. What have we learned from this experience? We’ve begun to approach that question in the the administration's management team (LEA). And I’d like to address it in this month’s blog.

I’ll present three of the lessons I consider important below – and I encourage all of you to send me your own thoughts on what’s most important for us to learn from the shutdown.

It’s no secret that digitalisation is one of my main preoccupations. I believe that we in the administration have made big and important strides in this respect during the physical shutdown.

For example, we’ve gained a lot of useful experience with holding online meetings. I hope that we’ll remember what we’ve learned here now that we’re back at the university, so that we continue to exploit the possibility of meeting virtually that technology gives us. In many cases it’s much more efficient – and it can also contribute to breaking down the geographical barriers we face, with campuses spread across the country. Naturally, virtual meetings will never completely replace face-to-face meetings. But we need to remember to actively consider and use this option where it makes sense.

The roll-out of Microsoft Teams is another digital advance that’s taken place in connection with the coronavirus shutdown A huge pat on the back to the employees who implemented the roll-out at lightning speed, and to all of you who’ve embraced the platform – and learned to use it at record speed. The roll-out will continue, of course, because there’s a lot more potential in Teams that we haven’t started taking advantage of yet. In future, Teams will be our shared platform for collaboration – for chat and virtual meetings, for example – as well as for sharing and editing documents and files. I believe we need to use what we’ve learned from the coronavirus shutdown in connection with the continued roll-out of the platform’s many exciting functions.

My third and last lesson is that we’ve gotten a lot better at working remotely. Not least thanks to the excellent digital platforms Teams and Zoom, which have made it straightforward for all of us to take these digital quantum leaps. But also for the simple reason that it’s been a necessity in order to be able to work at all for many of us. And it’s really made an enormous difference.

LEA is now in the process of gathering experiences from the coronavirus shutdown in order to discuss how we best can proceed with the digitalisation process from this new position as an organisation – and in the way that makes most sense to you. So I’d very much like to hear from you if you have other perspectives on what lessons we can learn from the shutdown.

Send your input to this email address, and let me know if it’s ok for us to publish your answer here on the blog.

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