Staff of TU/e services trying to find their way in Atlas

This morning, staff of practically every TU/e service flocked to the tenth and eleventh floors of Atlas in search of a workplace, a locker, and their colleagues. A small army of assistants with expertise in all possible fields stood ready to help the new occupants get started. Ankie van Steen, who supervises the transition, speaks of a quiet landing. “Small things that can be solved straight away will be dealt with now, but we will only start looking into larger issues concerning the concept or design in several months’ time.”

by en
photo Han Konings

Antoine Pijnenburg, staffer at the IMS department, wasn’t the first to arrive at Atlas this morning. At 7:45 AM it was crowded already, but he managed to find a spot for himself on floor 11 South. “With a great view of the PSV stadium and Kennispoort, where I used to work.” He doesn’t have a locker because he forgot his TU/e card. “Nevertheless, I could simply walk in, which I find a bit strange actually.” What he really liked was the feeling of being truly welcomed, as well as the small box he received that he can keep inside his -hopefully- future locker.

Pijnenburg: “The box contains symbolic items such as a chocolate bar with the words PANTRY BAR printed on it because you’re only allowed to eat in the pantry. Earphones to remind you that noise nuisance must be prevented, postcards of the former Hoofdgebouw intended to increase awareness of Atlas’ historical origins. And a webcam cover reminds us to be more privacy-conscious.”

Low-hanging fruit

Digicoaches and experts on Health and Safety are on standby in the coming days to help people solve their computer problems and correctly set up their workplaces. At first, adjusting the chair will probably require some extra effort, but this is expected to become an automatism as well soon enough. There are two boards in the building on which people can write down what they think still needs to be done and what they appreciate already. There’s room on the boards for advice as well. ‘Super cozy,’ ‘Beautiful view,’ and ‘Nice to meet people’ are some examples of the likes. ‘Number the workplaces,’ ‘A bin for confidential papers’ and ‘More wastebaskets’ are some of the things people think still need to be done.

Ankie van Steen says that things that can be adjusted easily, the “low-hanging fruit”, will be dealt with swiftly. “But in the coming months we will first see how this concept actually functions in practice. After an evaluation we will determine what needs to be adjusted.” She is pleased with this first day. “I saw how everyone managed to find a place quite easily and started working. There are complaints about the noise and people felt a bit cold, but the temperature can be adjusted, although it will take some time before you notice any change in the larger spaces. Also, it simply takes time to manage these things in a large building like this, especially now that people are working here.”


Angie Lammen is working in concentration cubicle 11.104. The space is designed for three people, but she has it to herself since 11:30 this morning. “That’s because another workplace had been taken already by 9:00 AM. I drive to work from Best and parked my car at Luna where fewer vans are parked momentarily. That probably won’t work anymore in February when faculty staff will park here as well.”

Lammen is part of the DPO International Expertise Team and arranges visa’s and other paperwork for staff from abroad. “We always meet with them personally when they arrive, only not this January. We can’t book a space to meet with the thirty new international colleagues who will start working here this month. Hopefully, we’ll manage this in Atlas starting in February, because I don’t want to lose my workplace when I have to go to a meeting somewhere else.”

Lammen considers finding a workplace the greatest challenge. “I’m already stressed out from the traffic jam in the morning and from looking for a parking space, only to add even more stress from the search for a work desk. That’s even more stressful than working in an open-plan office. Despite the somewhat chaotic start of her day, Lammen, who worked in Traverse during the summer, has a positive view of Atlas. “The place is new, clean and neat, that’s nice.”


CEC’s Luud Breuking wonders if things will stay this neat. “Each pantry has one dishwasher, which is used by a lot of people. Who will feel responsible for emptying it? This could be a great employment opportunity for people who are at a distance from the labour market, or for people in search for a job in general.” Breuking, who is an ambassador to Atlas, pointed this out earlier, “but I’m not sure if anyone will pick up on it.” After four months, Atlas will be evaluated and the issue of clean pantry’s will no doubt be a subject of discussion.

Martin Boers, Director Domestic Services, has also found a place for himself among his staff. Boers, who used to have a room for himself in Traverse, enjoys this working environment and has just received the advice to adjust his chair a bit higher the moment we get to speak to him. “A year ago already, I started to think about what I really wanted to bring with me to Atlas, where we only have one shelve to store our things. I now realize that you have to think about this each day because a locker only fits your coat and a bag. And what do you keep lying on your desk when you need to leave your workplace momentarily? That’s another thing I didn’t need to think about previously.”

There are some A4 size papers on the tenth floor showing the work that artist Gijs Frieling will install there in the course of 2019. Ankie van Steen says that plants will be delivered during the coming months with the purpose of adding some atmosphere to the still somewhat sterile surroundings.

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