you are on mute.

by Chris Heutink

Executive board member

In a time when social distancing is key, we're not letting go of each other. Keep your distance, 6 feet at least. But human beings were made to connect. Generally speaking, people want to be together.

On Saturday afternoons, we gather at the soccer or field hockey club where we huddle, closely together on the sideline. On Sunday, we crowd together in a stadium, on Fridays, in a concert hall or at a dance party until the wee hours somewhere, somewhere where it's possible. 

In virtual hangouts these days, you can feel the atmosphere. It’s unbelievably strong,  maybe even more intense than when you see each other in person. This way of ‘people watching’ is intensified. Frowns, yawns, a zone-out here and there followed by another frown. You can see people's reactions more clearly than ever before. 

You are on mute, but not really. In fact, you're not on mute at all, because you're more visible than ever, more audible, more palpable. 

We're sharing videos and memes that we found while browsing social media or were forwarded by others on lockdown. The other day a colleague  took me on a tour of her garden, which she had transformed into a fitness obstacle course made from bins and patio furniture to keep her kids moving!  I understand. I have a ‘lawn roller’ myself -- a 150-kg drum that I use to level off the lawn. That's become a sports activity. Waltzing around the yard. We're dancing more than ever before, at a distance, secretly. It reminds me of Whitney Houston’s hit 'I wanna dance with somebody'.

On Sundays, we're all looking forward to watching sports on TV. I watched a rerun of the Holland-Germany Euro Cup game of 1988 and with even more excitement than back then. Or the match during the World Cup 2014.  I was happier than ever when I could relive how Van Persie scored against Spain. The Dutch talkshow host Matthijs van Nieuwkerk presented his last show the other day. He looked back on 15 years of mostly pretty good television. The world keeps turning.

An enemy unites us. Most of the time, in any event. There are those people who want to hoard toilet paper and stack up as many cans of tomatoes as they can fit into their shopping cart. And still, I believe that most people are decent. Every four years, people are united by the Olympic Games. This time round, however, they've been postponed. Faster, Higher, Stronger is still the motto though, especially now. Brush off the dust and keep going!

New superheroes are what we need. You can find them in the healthcare sector everyday. What an amazing display of skill, truly Olympic! Actually, we see super heroes everywhere these days. The grandson who brings a meal to his grandmother, the restaurant staff delivering food to a nursing home. A greeting card or the extra FaceTime call to someone who lives alone..

Many people are talking about what will happen when all of this is over. Perhaps we should just carry on like this? The New Way of Working - we can all continue to work from home.

Hold on pals, let's not! People were made to connect live.

Face to face. Admittedly, there are many things that can be done in a video call. It's even faster sometimes.

We can change many things, but let's not believe we can do without real face-to-face contact. Nonsense. We must connect, hold each other, see each other in person, that's what we were made for.

Anyone who would deny  this -- please stay on mute.

Keep your distance. Stay healthy. Stay tuned and by the way, you're on mute!

chris heutink.

Executive board member

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Chris Heutink obtained a Master's degree in history. He started his career at Randstad as a consultant in the Netherlands. Various management positions followed until 2004, when he was promoted to become Managing Director of Randstad Poland. After moving back to the Netherlands in 2007, he became Director of Operations. In 2009, he was appointed Managing Director of Randstad Netherlands. Chris Heutink is responsible for the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Japan, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore & Malaysia.
 

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