Q&A 

WFH: 5 minutes with… Russell Pierpoint

Covid-19 has presented publishers with huge challenges, including having to publish when the whole team is stuck at home. We grab five minutes with Russell Pierpoint, MD of Evolved Media, to find out how working from home can be made to work.

By Russell Pierpoint

WFH: 5 minutes with… Russell Pierpoint

Q: What are the main requirements for successful working from home?

A: It is important to learn to be disciplined with your time and try to separate work from personal time. I recommend that if possible, separate your space and have a working area like you would in any normal office. For example, convert your spare bedroom into an office, this way you can separate your work from your personal life and avoid distractions. It will enable you to switch off and not feel like you are working all the time.

In addition, ensure you have set lunch breaks to try and keep that similar routine you would have in an office. It’s easy to lose track of time, but if you can’t stick to your usual work-life balance, you may find yourself getting run-down.

Q: How do you recreate the office buzz when everyone is working remotely?

A: Encourage the team to talk to each other using online tools and ensure that you check in regularly with others like you would in an office. You also need to create a water cooler equivalent. Informal catch ups and discussions are just as important as the more formal meetings. We tend to maintain this by having one more formal social avenue and one more informal avenue. Likewise, try and maintain a bit of personal in online meetings like you would face to face. Give a few minutes to see how everyone is before settling down to begin.

Previously, we would also organise occasional meetup days and social gatherings. This is of course not possible at the moment. But instead this could be replaced with an online social gathering e.g. an online games night. This helps to keep the team communicating and up to date with each other.

Q: What can publishers learn from developers when organising meetings / brainstorming sessions?

A: Take a leaf from developers; they have short regular scrums as catchups. This keeps the team focused and on task. Give everyone the chance to speak and discuss but if someone doesn’t have an update don’t make them speak. Don’t make people feel they have to say something for the sake of it. This will ensure that people resist the temptation to drift into topics that aren’t the focus of the session.

Q: What is the best way that you have found to stop people talking over each other during online meetings?

A: Establish the etiquette from the beginning, this is something people learn. We have meetings where there is a meeting lead, and everyone gets a turn to speak. This means talking over each other rarely happens, as all the team know they’ll get a chance to speak. This ensures that everyone knows who speaks and how to let the team speak. This really works for us; it may not be so easy when there are larger teams involved but establishing the rules in a clear way at the start will help. Plus, get people to mute when they’re not speaking.

Q: When choosing an editorial workflow system that facilitates WFH, what criteria should publishers be looking at?

A: Coordination and transparency in production are often an issue within the office. Working from home makes this even harder. Tools should be easily accessible and should perform well over home broadband links. Functionally, they should provide real-time transparency. So, the distributed team can see, precisely, the status of work, who it’s with, can preview content online (without necessarily downloading actual files), be able to collaborate on content, share comments and feedback. So, the tools fill the gap of not all sitting together in an office.

Q: What kind of lasting impact do you think the coronavirus pandemic will have on the way publishers work?

A: I don’t think publishers will immediately revert back to the way they previously worked in offices. This whole situation is opening their eyes to other ways of working and organising. They will have learnt that the team can be distributed and work flexibly to meet publishing deadlines for print and digital. They will adopt better online workflow tools to facilitate this. Given this is likely to last a while, new workflows and processes will become embedded. Some staff will question why they need to be in an office all the time or maybe at all. Often, offices are a major cost for publishers. The economic impact of the pandemic could force them to re-evaluate their need for large offices for all the team. Overall, the pandemic is really going to change people’s way of working and open their eyes to being more flexible with workflow.

Russell presented a webinar on the challenges of working from home, which you can view here.

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About us

“We give our clients the ability to control, manage and repurpose digital assets globally. Evolved Media was created over thirteen years ago and high profile clients include Next Retail, Sky, Warner Music and Immediate Media.

WoodWing is the backbone of many of our solutions. Evolved Media is part of a handful of senior partners around the world and alongside our Netherlands based sister company PubliQare, we provide a full range of services to help clients scope and implement new systems.

With our extensive industry experience we understand the practical challenges our clients face running to stand still in a world where content is growing exponentially. Our technology is sophisticated, fast and reliable, which means you can rely on robust, proven solutions that deliver consistently high performance.”

Russell Pierpoint

Managing Director

Tel: 0208 669 1804

Mobile: 07881 911430

Email: info@evolvedmedia.co.uk

Web: www.evolvedmedia.co.uk

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/evolvedmediaUK

Twitter: @EvolvedMediaUK