AG: Prior to the covid-19 restrictions, did you already telecommute and, if so, how often?
TdB: Our regular office is at the Lhoft, but this position, which I started last December, requires me to travel extensively throughout Europe to visit the members and future members of our association, so yes, I took the habit of working partially from home, but also hotel rooms, restaurants or even parking lots… and when there’s no wifi, I rely on the “personal hotspot” of my iPhone.
When did you start telecommuting as a covid-19 precaution?
What was your telecommuting workspace previously? Or was it always your “home office”?
I happen to have a secondary activity which is being an economics columnist for a Belgian 24/7 news TV channel named LN24, so I was already doing weekly live sessions by Skype from my home library. Have you noticed people liked to be interviewed with books behind them? In my case, the shelves are full of comic strips (I am Belgian you see), so I try to cover them with one or two finance books to look clever.
What do you like about your telecommuting workspace?
An unlimited supply of Coke Zero from my giant Smeg “retro style” fridge. It’s reassuring to have symbols of capitalism available when the world is near collapse.
What would you change?
Upgrade my Bamboo fibre subscription from L to XL?
Is there a “personal touch” to your home workspace?
Yes, Roy Lichtenstein’s “Woman in Bath”.
Thibault de Barsy is seen with a Roy Lichtenstein poster in his home workspace. Photo provided by Thibault de Barsy
What are your most widely used telecommuting tools or applications?
Zoom for video conferencing, the whole suite of social media and an eye on Keytrade Bank’s app to follow the stock markets. [Editor’s note: de Barsy was CEO of the online bank from 2014 to 2019.]
How do you make telecommuting work for you?
Well, I am the family’s designated chef, so having the kitchen nearby allows me to prepare simmered dishes in my giant “Le Creuset” casserole [starting in the] early morning.
Have you developed any new habits or routines?
Shouting at my teenage kids to have their rooms tidied up.
After the covid-19 restrictions are lifted, do you plan to keep telecommuting sometimes?
No, I think I’ll enjoy even more the company of my co-workers at the Lhoft.