Home office is the death of the editorial staff

COMMENTS:

“Maybe there are the wrong people who like the home office. Employees who are not particularly concerned with standing first in the queue when assignments are handed out. », Writes Bernt Olufsen.

Then the Government’s order for a home office was finally repealed. The serving in cabins and houses can again be replaced with restaurant and bar visits. Friday game with colleagues from work.

Or will it happen?

Modernists in media groups and media houses believe that working life after the pandemic has been defeated will never be the same. They envision a more flexible work pattern, often referred to as the hybrid model, where employees alternate between home office and some weekly attendance at work.

The requirement for a home office has now been lifted. This is how the media houses do it in the future

 

How will such a work pattern affect the quality of journalism? Does it better enable the media houses to solve the social mission?

The other day I heard the Norwegian Bar Association’s general secretary say that lawyers deliver higher quality work from home offices. That might say a bit about lawyers, hardly organize for journalists. The leader of the journalistic team has then also warned against the use of a home office.

Journalists have rightly been equipped with a lot of new digital tools in recent years.

But proximity to the sources remains a crucial factor in many cases. Not least in investigative and socially critical journalism where many projects are hampered by a lack of physical contact with sources and limited opportunities to travel.

The wear shows up

Many were surprised by the results of the home office during the first pandemic year. In some media houses, there was talk of increased productivity and good well-being. But I hear some leaders say that last autumn the wear and tear began to show. Productivity and creativity showed a downward trend. People got tired of standing in the same monotonous everyday life.

Maybe the wrong people like the home office. Employees who are not particularly concerned about standing first in the queue when assignments are handed out. Who is not particularly interested in working in teams or across different skills. Maybe they are in a life situation where family life and private life are better served with home office.

I fear that the home office will long enough turn out to be the death of the editorial staff.

For what exactly is an editorial office?

A professional community

The lexicon states that an editor can be a permanent person or a group that processes and arranges the material into a mass medium. To me, the editorial staff has always appeared as a professional community where ideas are born, solutions are discussed, quality is ensured and feedback is given face to face. Not least, the editorial office is also a physical work environment that sources and media users can relate to.

The editorial office is a hotbed for learning, evaluation and competence building. Most of what I know about journalism I have learned from my colleagues in this working community that an editorial team makes up. For younger journalists, this is absolutely crucial.

It is not the physical conditions that worry me the most on the way into a new round of homework

 

Through the editorial community, corporate culture is also built. Through my 32 rides in VG, I learned to appreciate a distinctive form of winning culture, characterized by unbridled creativity, short distances, consideration and respect for each other. The culture was in stark contrast to Dagbladet’s, which in crucial years was characterized by internal strife and toxic individuals.

I doubt if the hybrid office, it does not recreate the winning culture just as it got to know. In the years of successful breakthroughs, the VG editorial staff was like one big family. the digital transformation have made this powerful environment off?

Facebook and Google bell sheep

Facebook and Google act as bellworms for directors who want a more flexible labor market. These are global companies where digital tools are central to all work. The work scheme presupposes relatively high digital competence among the employees in order to make it work.

Last year, Google asked 140,000 of its employees about homework and the office of the future: 70 percent were positive about working from home! Google has launched the hybrid model for its employees and will invest billionaires in flexible solutions with e.g. three days a week in the office, two days a week where you thrive best. There are also plans to introduce four weeks in the year where you can work from wherever you want (beyond holidays).

Mark Zuckerberg in Meta (Facebook) envisions a world where everything physical must be integrated into the digital . The office of the future will be a completely virtual arena in ten years. So here there are only a few wearing VR glasses.

The annual trend report on journalism, media and technology from the Reuters Institute describes how a new generation of editorial managers will soon take over control of the media houses. There will be plans for smaller and more efficient editorial offices with upgraded technology. Negotiations will be conducted with the employees about hybrid solutions. The model will require clearer work rules, better training and new routines for everyone. Media leaders should also have a much stronger focus on employees’ mental health.

The British media group Reach will implement a number of Kontake measures to counteract the feeling of isolation. Reach has closed 75 percent of its UK offices. At the same time, the media company Quartz announces that it will be a “fully distributed company”, which will employ “anyone from anywhere”. Everyone has to work remotely.

Advantages and disadvantages

One should also not be blind to the fact that there are benefits associated with practicing a home office for journalists. It can bring journalism closer to the sources, ordinary people’s experience of social development.

For the individual, there will also be some clear benefits: You can use the toilet at home. You can make homemade lunch. Take a break whenever you want. Fresh air if needed. Change clothes whenever you want. Wear the music. Work whenever you want. Spend less time on the business trip and have time to make a good dinner with the whole family.

For the climate, there may also be some benefits: Less food waste. Less business travel. But greater space requirements in the home and double-set medium-electronic gadgets pull in the opposite direction.

Negative for young people

What worries me most, however, is the impact of the hybrid job on our young generation of journalists. What does the hybrid solution mean for your career?

Everyone has a need to be seen at work. How to develop a good relationship with colleagues?

What does it mean for your development to have fewer live social contacts daily?

All media houses draw large bills of money on young journalists who stand up to show that they are good enough.

One in four media calls for diversity expertise among summer substitutes: – Not enough at all

 

This is a group that also has the worst physical environment for working from home. They may live in a collective or in small apartments. Maybe they are single. They rely on the teachings of older colleagues. Could it be that the home office has a negative effect on young people’s mental health?

Some have also asked whether the home office will expand the gender differences in the media. That men want to return to work, while women think it is ok to work more from home. Today, moreover, all media are concerned with diversity and the inclusion of people with different backgrounds in the editorial staff. Will it be easier to do this with the people in the home office?

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This is a comment, and expresses the writer’s opinion. Do you have a list to write in Medier24? Send your post to [email protected] .

Roderick Gilbert

"Entrepreneur. Internet fanatic. Certified zombie scholar. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon expert."

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