#FEMSmicroBlog: What we have learned from home confinement


With the world still in the grip of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the disease. Even those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home still face several challenges. In this new entry for the #FEMSmicroBlog, members of the FEMS Team in Delft (well, now at home) present what they have learned during home confinement. #TheCulturePlate

A balancing (and sporty) act

Nothing prepares you for staying at home, combining work, parenting, teaching, household chores and leisure. You learn by doing. And during that process, remarkable things happen. My discovery was that I found a way to work evenings, dosing my energy. As many people, I used to be in traffic jams twice a day to work regular office hours, a routine in which I would start with a full battery that would run out following a linear path, leaving just enough energy after dinner to have some family time – or couch time. At home, I learned to work in smaller chunks divided over a day, including evenings and early mornings and plan in longer breaks. Added bonus: more time for exercising. I now really enjoy the daily exercise, and hope to continue this flexible, healthier routine also when we’re ready to work (mostly) from the office again.”

—Carianne Buurmeijer, Project Manager for Events & Communication

Carianne’s home gym
Going green (with your own basil)

While being confined at home, I started appreciating having the possibility to get some fresh air on my balcony and being able to grow some greens. I learned how to have endless supply of basil and plant spring onions from store bought plants. Here is an easy guide: For basil, cut 2-3 nodes below the tip and put in a glass of water (the leaves will help anchor it to the glass rim). Be patient – you might have quite a lot of time at home anyways those days! After ca. 10 days roots will form, and you can simply plant the plant-to-be in soil. Pruned tips will grow two branches (and these branched stems can form roots as well), hence you’ll never run out of basil. For spring onions, cut the tip as you’d do for cooking, put the bulb in a glass of water (in the meantime, tips will regrow giving you fresh spring onions again), and once roots have formed simply plant in soil. The plant is perennial, so you’ll always have fresh chive.”

—Corrado Nai, Project Manager for Publications & Communities

An easy way to grow your own greens
Embracing (even more) the digital life

I suppose the things I have learned, from this lengthy working from home experiment, are that often it is just easier to arrange a video call than hash out everything by email, and that to a great extent 99% of all the work we do can be carried out from home without too much delay. Also the coffee I make at home is MUCH better than the coffee from the office…. (sorry FEMS!).

However, I didn’t realise how much I would miss real life events and all the spontaneous colleague interactions and idea sharing. And now I can really tell that traveling did add something extra to a day job (at least for me, as I have no family commitments to juggle) and I hope that I can get to meet our community face to face again when it is safe to do so. I feel that it’s the afterhours socialising and real in-person bond forming with colleagues and connections which are much harder to replace, and these elements were so fulfilling in general.

I hope we have learned that working from home is productive, online events can be thoroughly engaging and inspiring (and are cheaper and easier for all), but also that we must also find ways to travel and support face to face meetings when this is appropriate.’’

—Joseph Shuttleworth, Science Communications Officer

We hope that these examples will serve as an inspiration for other people working from home, bring the FEMS Team closer to you (virtually, that is), and motivate readers and people in our network to share their stories too. If you have a story to share on our #FEMSmicroBlog, get in touch with us.

About the authors of this blog

The FEMS Team, which is based in Delft prior and after the current SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, works behind the scenes to deliver the FEMS 2020-2024 Strategy.

About this blog section

In the section #TheCulturePlate, we give a voice to our network, which is greatly diverse and spread all over the world. We present personal accounts, views, opinions, and interviews.

Do you want to be a guest contributor?
The #FEMSmicroBlog welcomes external bloggers, writers and SciComm enthusiasts. Get in touch if you want to share your idea for a blog entry with us!

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