by Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
We are all learning to adapt to a new, temporary normal during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In publishing, specific issues arise for publishers that are not used to working in a distributed Work from Home (WfH) environment. And even for those publishers that built their operations as WfH from the bottom up, the general disruptions of COVID-19 like having the kids home from school for an extended period are making this less of a typical WfH experience.
On Thursday, March 19th, Westchester Publishing Services gathered a panel of our partners in the industry to share about what they’re seeing in their markets, methods for successfully adapting to working from home, and more. Speakers and Panelists included:
- Nicole Tomassi, Westchester Publishing Services, Marketing & Conference Manager
- Michael Jensen, Westchester Publishing Services, Director of Technology
- Terry Colosimo, Westchester Publishing Services, Director of Operations
- Kevin J. Gray, Westchester Education Services, President & Chief Content Officer
- Cev Bryerman, Publishers Weekly – Publisher and Executive Vice President
- Cathy Felgar, Princeton University Press – Publishing Operations Director
- Rich Portelance, CareerPath Mobile – Founder and CEO
- Andy Wilson, Dropbox – Global Director, Media Technology
Over the course of the webinar, we covered practical measures like how to handle tasks that were rote in the office but now need new solutions remotely, technology solutions for file sharing and communications, and the empathy needed when working and managing remotely in our current environment to adapt to different challenges than we might normally encounter in the office or WfH.
Key considerations covered in depth in the below links include the following practices and ideas:
- Take Inventory of your associates at home computer equipment – don’t assume all have appropriate equipment – PC, printer, etc.
- Quite likely they do not have all the software they need to work from home, so consider IT support that will be needed
- Follow up with your associates as their needs may change as they become settled into their new routine
- Take Inventory of your associates’ internet connectivity from home – be sure to consider impact on bandwidth of school age children doing classes from home
- How do your associates connect to the company’s email system from home?
- Get your associates’ phones set up with company email access
- Be sure to collect cell phone numbers for all associates – and circulate the list
- Confirm with each that they receive text messages – for urgent communications
- Centralize Documentation like the above phone numbers and processes —critical information should be centralized in a common location. Consider Dropbox Paper so comments can be made as procedures may change
- Consider how associates will access documents on company servers/systems which they must print at home
- Small size documents can be transferred via company email from the server to the local machine
- Large documents (i.e. <3mb) can be transferred via file sharing services such as DropBox
- Consider how your associates will mark-up and communicate edits/comments to manuscripts/documents
- Do they have scanning capabilities at home?
- Look into whether local copy centers will scan large documents for you
- Consider Adobe Acrobat tools https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/using/commenting-pdfs.html
- Schedule regular (perhaps daily, but at least every other day) team conference calls – video conferencing if possible – so your associates stay and feel connected
- Remember this is physical distancing not social distancing. Use video conferences for social interactions like lunch together with your team. Those watercooler interactions you’re used to in the office are on hiatus, and video can help fill that void.
- Show Understanding and Be Flexible – Empathize – many of your associates are doing this, work from home, for the first time – and this is a foreign experience – they need time to adjust
- Good News – the publishing business can continue and be successful without everyone being in one physical office location – a period of adjustment, yes – but will quite likely lead to real and permanent changes in how we do business, and cost savings