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Working on site during COVID-19

News
16.04.2020

Not everyone can perform their tasks from home. Some of our colleagues are needed to work on site. Here, Maria Tilton, Ewa Schoutsen and Dylan Kroon all Technologists at Vitro Support Lab Flowers in Enkhuizen share their experiences of working during this challenging time.

Tissue Culture Lab: Maria Tilton (l) en Ewa Schoutsen (r)
Tissue Culture Lab: Maria Tilton (l) en Ewa Schoutsen (r)

What activities do you carry out on site that can’t be done at home?
Tissue culture activities just cannot be done at home at all. Transfering plants takes place in a special flow hood in a sterile setting. Plants won’t stop growing because of Covid-19, so all processes, initiations, maintenance and productions must continue as well.

How does it feel to work on site at this time?
We have two locations, a laboratory in Andijk and one in Enkhuizen (both in The Netherlands). Our team has been split between the two locations. So, we work with a few colleagues but haven’t connected with the rest of the team for a long time. In some way this situation strengthens our sense of team spirit; we prioritize the work – one team, one task. Because of the smaller team setting, we help each other as much as we can. Of course, we keep our distance and follow all the Covid-19 precautionary measures.

What motivates you and keeps you going?
Although you can’t meet with all of your colleagues, it is important to stay in contact. This helps to keep up the team spirit. Together we must endure these hard times and our passion for the job, Syngenta Flowers and for our team gives us strength!

Medium kitchen: Dylan Kroon
Medium kitchen: Dylan Kroon

What activities do you carry out on site that can’t be done at home?
In the medium kitchen we create the growing media for plants and seed health checks. We make the growing media for multiple departments, so it is important that this process continues so that other departments can continue to work as well. Since safety is our number one priority, we only allow two employees at a time in the kitchen. Working this way, we can keep our social distance at 1.5 meters.

How does it feel to work on site at this time?
It is quiet in the building, which is a strange experience. In our department we are quite isolated and don’t see any other people. It does gives me a satisfied feeling however that because of our activities other departments can continue their work as well. Our planning has become more flexible too in this time of sudden changes; if a plant shipment cannot leave, we need to make extra growing media so that the plants can still be transferred in our lab.

What motivational message would you like to share?
That’s easy – Stay Positive!