Picture: Nina Maissouradze

Higher education teachers strongly divided about working from home

Some teachers in higher education think working from home is 'not at all', while others are happy with it. Opinions vary widely, according to a survey by research agency Newcom.

What do teachers actually think of working from home and online education? Nearly 750 lecturers from five universities (Twente, Eindhoven, Utrecht, Groningen and the UvA) and two universities of applied sciences (Fontys and Hogeschool Utrecht) completed a Newcom questionnaire.

Two camps

The vast majority are still working from home. And that also has its good sides, according to a majority. "I will try to work from home for one or two days if my employer is open to it," 63 percent ticked.

The rest fall into two camps: 20 percent think working from home is 'not at all' and want to go back to work as soon as possible, while almost as many teachers say the opposite: they want to 'keep working from home as much as possible'.

20 percent think working from home is 'nothing at all'

Most expect that online education will not disappear completely when the corona crisis is over. Digital education is therefore 'a good addition to physical lessons and lectures', according to 65 percent.

65 percent of those surveyed think that digital education is 'a good addition to physical lessons and lectures'

However, a large proportion disagree. 'Higher education must return to the way it was before the corona crisis', say 28 percent of the teachers surveyed.

meaning

The fact that opinions differ sharply is also apparent from the answers to open questions. Some hate working from home. “I don't have room at home for a desk and I work at the dining table, so my shoulder complaints are getting worse,” says one of them. There are also sometimes complaints about the low work-from-home allowance and the facilities: "The effort I had to go to to get an office chair at home makes no sense."

The home situation also plays a major role. As one teacher explains: “In the first weeks of the crisis, an older colleague reported very satisfied: 'Now I can finally finish my book!' And he did that, while my partner and I suddenly had two toddlers, extra teaching tasks, extra dishes and cooking and laundry.”

Some teachers distrust the motives of administrators for choosing online education. "I suspect they are using the corona situation to 'solve' structural problems (such as lack of office space, lecture halls, et cetera)." In fact, sometimes they even mistrust the survey they fill out: “If this survey is a disguised attempt to make workplaces even more flexible, then stop.”

Own choices

Others don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and don't think the digital options are wrong at all. “Working online may not be ideal for everyone, but it is for some. It would be nice if teachers were given more opportunities to make their own choices in the future. And meetings and the like can often be done online as well.”

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