Portrait Ronald Ligteringen
Technical assistant for research and teaching, Imaging Physics
“I really enjoyed last year. I provide IT support for research and teaching activities, and I certainly had plenty of scope last year. At first, I thought it was great being able to work from home. I could have lunch with my two teenage daughters, for example. But my enthusiasm waned by mid-May, and I found myself feeling quite negative about the whole thing. I missed bumping into people and the inspiration I drew from such chance meetings. Your senses become deadened without input from outside. My solution was to go into the office once a week.
I can see the campus gradually opening up now. I’ve recently been working hard to prepare for the return of students coming in for research laboratory courses. I like interacting with the students. Our contact has been restricted to a bare minimum for some time now, and we [the staff] are becoming concerned. You can see them via a video link, sitting there all alone in their tiny rooms. It’s particularly difficult for the international students. Luckily, they can mingle more now, and you see increasing numbers of students on campus.
In 2019, a colleague and I were carrying out research into social safety as part of Service Quality, but we had to abandon it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent need for isolation is making me even more worried about social safety. If a situation is turbulent, people don’t feel quite as comfortable about raising certain topics. I think that is something that we need to be aware of, and that we must give each other space to say what we really think or feel.
Last year has been an opportunity to reconsider some of the things that we have been doing for years. I think that is a positive step. I expect that we’ll be going into the office more frequently from now on, but the cat is well and truly out of the bag as far as working from home is concerned. Personally, I’d like to go into work three or four days a week and do my programming or admin from home. We’ll have to see how things work out.”