The Potential Impact of Work-From-Home on Newsrooms

INMA report looks at work-from-home impact on newsrooms

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The Potential Impact of Work-From-Home on Newsrooms by May Meehan
The Potential Impact of Work-From-Home on Newsrooms by May Meehan

Dallas 30 July 2020 – The Covid-19 pandemic started a work-from-home phenomenon that will likely outlast the coronavirus. As news media companies are thinking outside most boxes they have ever worked within; the news industry needs to take a strategic look at when, where, and how WFH works, according to a report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA).

The Potential Impact of Work-From-Home on Newsrooms by Harvard Nieman Fellow Mary Meehan delves into how WFH is going and what workers need to do it effectively as some media companies prepare to remain remote at least until the end of 2020. Success is more than providing a laptop computer and a Zoom subscription.

The report covers –

The shift to working remotely – The pandemic caused a swift and abrupt move to WFH. Yet US executives surveyed expect 30% of their employees to work remotely at least one day a week after the pandemic, triple the previous rate.

WFH policies and support – From Zoom etiquette to US federal occupational regulations, from tech support to emotional support, news leaders need a new set of skills to manage remote workers.

Balancing work-life while working from home – This quote from the report sums it up — especially for women, “You can say, ‘I’m going to get this project done,’ and someone is coming in sideways and saying ‘I want some cereal.” Planning and training help.

The reality of the tech gap – Households and regions without proper Wi-Fi and differences in equipment, need to be addressed.

Management can help – In addition to guiding with all of the above, managing people you aren’t physically with offers new challenges. “Author Mary Meehan has put her finger on the pulse of some likely serious ramifications of WFH that are being discussed across industries, but never brought home to media companies,” INMA executive director and CEO Earl Wilkinson said. “If you are serious about people and talent management during this Covid moment, spend some time with this smart report. Challenge your HR team whether your WFH plan measures up.”

The 47-page report includes case studies from US media companies McClatchy, Cox Media Group, WFPL, and Skift’s B2B publication, which can be extrapolated for non-newsroom departments in other parts of the world.

The Potential Impact of Work-From-Home on Newsrooms is available for free to INMA members and available to non-members for US$ 795, which includes one year of association membership, all strategic reports, Webinars, and access to all INMA content and peer connection tools. The report may be downloaded or purchased at www.inma.org/reports.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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