More to WFH than a laptop and a Zoom subscription

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Work-from-home case studies from McClatchy, Cox Media Group, WFPL and Skift are included in a new INMA report on its impact on newsrooms.

The phenomenon now likely to outlast the coronavirus has prompted news media companies to take a strategic look at when, where, and how WFH works, the report says.

'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.

The report covers:

The shift to working remotely: The pandemic caused a swift and abrupt move to WFH. Yet executives surveyed expect 30 per cent 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."

The reality of the tech gap: Households and regions without proper Wi-Fi, as well as differences in equipment, need to be addresses.

How management can help: In addition to guiding with all of the above, managing people you aren't physically with offers new challenges.

"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 Earl Wilkinson says.

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. It is available free to INMA members or US$795 to non-members. Details at www.inma.org/reports.

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