Working from home requires the same discipline as studying”

The teleworking story of Thomas.

‘Working from home is a lot like studying: you need to plan and organise well, be very disciplined and schedule enough breaks,’ says Thomas Declerck of our Buscon team. Thomas speaks from experience: his university years are not that far behind him and as a young business analyst at Ordina, he regularly teleworks. When the coronavirus crisis hit, his experience proved invaluable for the whole Ordina team.

How much knowledge and experience do the employees of our Buscon team have? An impressive amount, as a chat with Thomas reveals. As a student, he was already constantly looking for new insights: ‘After I received my Bachelor’s degree in Work and Organisational Psychology, I decided to study economics. After a transition year, I went on to take a postgraduate Master’s in Management and Economy and a postgraduate Master’s in Information Management.’

On the interface between business and IT

The combination of business and IT knowledge made Thomas an ideal candidate for a job in our Business Consulting division. He followed the kick-starter programme – now the young professional programme – and after four intense training weeks, was entrusted with setting up the RPA business unit together with Tom De Maeyer. ‘A project you can only dream of being involved in as a recent graduate,’ he admits. He then worked as a junior business analyst at Vlaams Agenschap Zorg en Gezondheid (VAZG). ‘I translated the needs of the business for the developers and also coordinated activities such as testing. Quite challenging for a novice, but I received plenty of support from my senior colleagues.’

The discipline of a good student

The job at VAGZ did involve a beast of a commute from Boom to Brussels every day. The Wednesday homeworking day provided a welcome change. ‘Teleworking is well-established at VAGZ and I, too, was soon trusted to work from home one day a week. I was an instant fan: no time wasted in traffic jams, much easier to focus and very efficient meetings via Skype. To me, a day working from home is like when you are a student on exam leave. In both cases, you need to have the discipline to draw up a schedule and stick to it.’

I was an instant fan of my homeworking day: no time wasted in traffic jams, much easier to focus and very efficient meetings via Skype.

Thomas’s 3 golden teleworking tips:

  1. Everyone is different
    Find the structure and rhythm that suit you best. Some trial and error is okay in the beginning ☺️.
  2. Clear agreements make good friends
    Let colleagues, customers and housemates or family members know when you are and aren’t working.
  3. Generate the trust of management
    Report on what you are doing, send updates and ask for feedback. This tip is definitely crucial for anyone who, like many Ordina employees, works full-time for one particular customer.

Teleworking task force

In these coronavirus times, Thomas has been sharing his homeworking experience with his colleagues and customers as a member of the ‘teleworking task force’. ‘Just when normal business ground to a halt because of the coronavirus, I was meant to start working for a new customer. Those plans had to be put on hold for a little while because the customer wasn’t quite ready yet in that very first teleworking week to onboard employees online,’ says Thomas. ‘Together with Sander Van Capellen, I started compiling tips on teleworking, which we presented in the form of an overview to our colleagues.’

Meanwhile, a teleworking group has been set up on the Microsoft Teams platform where Sander and Thomas share advice with and ask for suggestions from all colleagues. Every day, they gather new insights. ‘The feedback has really been very positive. The task force is now also available to other companies: everyone can contact us with questions or problems about teleworking – from technology and tools to the human aspect.’

Meanwhile, we have set up a teleworking group on the Microsoft Teams platform where we share advice with and ask for suggestions from our colleagues.

The new way of working?

‘These are exceptionally challenging times for any company, but at the same time, it’s going to be an interesting experiment: this is an excellent opportunity to find out that teleworking can be just as efficient as office-based working. I’m curious to see what this means for our new way of working in the future,’ Thomas concludes.


Want to get more out of Microsoft Teams? Struggling with technical problems when making video calls? Looking for tips on how to make life more fun for homeworkers?

Discover our task force and ask us your questions without obligation.