Charlene LambertIn this demanding, autumn 2020 business season, many employees continue to work mostly, if not entirely, from home. Those of us who are self-employed have already earned our stripes, and are experienced full-time ‘homeworkers’ with all of the implications that this suggests. Even though we have first-hand experience, it’s important to remember that we are not a uniform group and we are still continuously on the outlook for the best ways to manage during these unsettled times. For these reasons also, each of us is individually a source of ideas and suggestions on this topic and collectively, the WBII community comprises an amazing experienced fountain of knowledge.

Members and friends in the WBII community come from many walks of life and a wide variety of ethnic and socio-cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, we live and work in environments that are constantly in flux, especially during this pandemic period. We also have our own individual needs according to our age, the types of work we are doing and our family life situations. Recent studies have shown that women must juggle their work and family roles even more and that these increasingly overlap. For example, there are numerous occasions when I participated in a conference call where a Mom on the call was holding a baby or toddler at the same time, where I could hear children playing in the background, or when we had to schedule meetings around school hours. This is a period that has been an eye-opener for some parents. After not having to commute long distances to and from work, they may have learned that despite the many difficulties, they actually enjoy having more time together as a family.

Skill Share Open Forum

The WBII wants to continue to be there for our members and community, and encourage sharing ideas and suggestions on how best to manage during this period. For this reason, we are offering the ‘Skill Share Open Forum’ programme. The idea behind the Open Forum events is to share knowledge, to learn, to give, to inspire and to support. We also invite members who are specialists on the chosen topics to join and share their expertise. Discussions are helpful to many, as the aim is to learn from each other. It is free, online, open to all and only one hour long. Coming up on Nov. 12, the topic is specifically about ‘Working from home’, and we’ll be exploring what you have done to make your workspace work for you. Register to attend the Open Forum here.


If you haven’t yet started your business, or want to continue working from home, we are offering a helpful boost. Twice a year, the WBII reaches out to all members of the international community to invite them to attend our ‘Start Your Own Business’ seminars. This programme, held in collaboration with Webster University in Leiden, offers an introduction in English on the process of starting a business in the Netherlands. This seminar is particularly of interest for spouses of internationals who would like to work in the Netherlands, but who may be having difficulty finding employment. The WBII and Webster students organise this programme on a volunteer basis and the speakers are all professionals in their fields.

On Thursday, November 5, we will again be offering our SYOB seminar under the familiar format, but with a new twist. For the first time, this seminar/workshop will be held exclusively online. During this session, we will present the legal, financial and procedural aspects of starting a one-person company, and do a reality check to discuss the viability of one’s business idea. We also discuss the importance of networking ‘Dutch’ style, considerations about creatively marketing one’s business and provide testimonials from entrepreneurs who have already started their business. Please share this registration link here with your friends and contacts who may be interested. We hope that next year we will be able to return to the standard in-person sessions. WBII members get a Euro 5 discount.

The new normal?

However nice it is to be able to close the door at 5:00 p.m. and leave one’s work behind, the concept of a ‘home office’ is no longer an oxymoron. While it’s difficult to say now, it seems that the home office may become the new normal. In a country that is frequently short of housing, more and more office buildings are now for rent or being converted into housing, and digitisation is on the upswing. It has now become apparent that many tasks that we used to work on from an office can just as easily be accomplished from the comfort of our homes. While we may miss our colleagues and the stimulation of a pleasant and congenial office setting, we can manage working from home quite well. We need to find other ways of ensuring that we have meaningful contacts with our colleagues, and this is where WBII can open the doors to helpful and knowledgeable networks, in both face-to-face, and online/virtual settings.

‘Golden Autumn’ Photo credit to Stephanie Krist