With teenage children, working from home can get rather distracting for Inez Lutter, the secretary of the Corporate Planning and Control department. “That’s why I’ve decided to keep working from the office every day. This is where I have my PC, printer – everything I need, basically,” she explains. “And it’s peaceful here, so I can focus on getting my work done.”
Inez lives near campus. Normally speaking, she cycles to work, but nowadays she takes the car – not just because of the pandemic, but also because it allows her to take along her dog Bobo. “He loves me and wants to be around me all the time. So I thought: ‘Well, why don’t you come with me then?’ Because otherwise he’s just sitting around at home, waiting till I get back.”
Inez is the only person currently working from her office in the Erasmus Building. The four colleagues with whom she usually shares a space all work from home. “It’s nice to have Bobo for company,” she says. Bobo, who recently turned nine, is a black Stabyhoun. He’s great company, according to Inez. “He’s very peaceful. He’s right by my side the whole day, on his mat. When I need to go to the toilet, I leave him behind with the door closed. He follows me when I go over to print something. I give him a cracker every now and then. He never gets them at home, so he rather likes that.” Bobo, who’s lying next to his boss, seems to nod in agreement.
Apart from keeping Inez company, Bobo also helps her keep in shape. “He forces me to go outside,” she says. Every day, they take two walks around campus. “The first one’s during my lunch break, and we take another walk at three. Usually we stroll across campus for about 20 minutes.” They don’t have a fixed route, and Bobo finds every corner of the campus as interesting as the next. “And with things being so very quiet, you really get to relax during these walks too.”
Inez meets up with colleagues occasionally, but they’re fine with Bobo tagging along. “I do always ask in advance: ‘Do you mind if I take my dog?’ But they like him being around,” says Inez.
Inez herself is actually allergic to dogs. Bobo is what they call a hypoallergenic dog – meaning he sheds little to no hair and doesn’t cause an allergic reaction. “So I don’t have to worry about people sneezing, coughing or getting red eyes because of Bobo.” Will she still be taking her dog to work once the corona crisis is over? “No, there will be too many people here. It would get too busy with a dog around, and I don’t think it would work for my co-workers and the director either.”