[Editor’s note: A version of this article by Anton Protsiuk appeared in the latest edition of The Fix’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest media news, opportunities, and insights every Monday.]
It’s summer in the Global North, vaccinations are moving along. Despite the rise of the ultra-contagious delta Covid variant, it almost feels like life is back to normal.
In the US, Digiday writes, this week marks the start of a “soft opening” for some major news publishers, such as BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. Many organisations expect to formally reopen offices in September.
Most of Europe is lagging behind the US – while the UK has passed the “50% fully vaccinated mark” (even a bit ahead of the US 47%), France, Poland and Germany are barely over a third. In the East, Russia has just cleared 12%, while Ukraine is at a depressing 2%.
Nonetheless, across the continent media managers have to start thinking about what “life after COVID looks like”.
Many bosses no doubt would prefer to have their teams back in the office. Surveys show that many employees are having none of it – going so far as to switch jobs if they are forced to come back in person.
As Digiday puts it, “employers who fail to be… flexible about flex work… may well find themselves on the wrong side of history when it comes to work trends —and, in the more immediate future, on the losing side of employee retention.”
The evidence on the productivity and creativity of remote vs. in-person work is inconclusive. It seems to depend on many other factors, including education, having kids or not, culture and many others.
What is clear, however, is this is an issue that many teams need to deal with. You can’t run a remote or hybrid organization the same way you would a classical one. Moreover, it’s one thing to switch over with a team who knows each other. Onboarding new people, helping them build relationships, is a whole different ball game.
Managing a group of creative people remotely is hard. For some tips on how to do it better, start with The Fix’s article on how to make “work from home” work for media managers.