What will working remotely mean for editors in 2021?

2020 presented numerous obstacles that editors, art directors, and publishers have had to weave through — and 2021 isn’t starting off much different. Due to strict social distancing laws, journalists around the world have had to vacate corporate offices and switch to remote work. 

Although working remotely has been a key factor in allowing b2b publications to keep their businesses afloat (not to mention generate content), questions have arisen regarding how long publications will be forced to work remotely. Covid-19 has shown little to no signs of slowing down despite a vaccine being put into place, so the era of remote work isn’t coming to an end just yet.

A recent TABPI survey showed that pre-Covid-19, 33% of respondents’ staff fully worked in an office setting. Ropughly 13% said they were fully remote, while 54% said their staffs were a mix of in-person and remote staff members.

Bob Trebilcock, Editorial Director of Supply Chain Management Review, explained that for him, the working remote concept started long before Covid-19.

“I’ve worked remotely for nearly 40 years, so there’s no impact on my day-to-day editorial duties. The biggest change is that I typically attend 15 to 18 live events a year and last year, I did no business travel after March, and it’s unclear if there will be any business travel at all in 2021.”

Trebilcock’s stance on 2021 has been correct so far, as travel restrictions have yet to be lifted regarding most business travel.

Another editor, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with this sentiment, saying, “I have always worked remotely and will continue to enjoy doing so.”

Although there were b2b editors who were working remotely prior to the pandemic, a handful of editors felt differently regarding the remote state of publications.

Nadia Howland, Associate Publisher for Australia’s The Surveyor, had mixed emotions regarding her past and current remote situation.

“It’s difficult!” she said. “Not everyone is online at the same time or easily accessible. That said, some staff members work more productively at different hours and that’s okay, too.”

Another editor had mixed feelings regarding the workload of remote work.

“I’ll be able to work remotely as much as needed, but the workload brought by the pandemic is significantly more. The information need is greater, which has ramped up efforts by editors to deliver more.”

A year ago, a majority of U.S. citizens believed that by 2021, we would likely be living in a post-Covid era. Since that has not been the case so far this year, the only thing we can do is look towards brighter days going forward. 

While the drag of staying remote has taken over the b2b community, Grant Morgan, Senior Editor of TWICE, spoke on the adoption and progression of remote work.

We’ve learned that everyone can adapt quicker than they thought possible, and improvements can be made daily to communicate more effectively, thanks to technology,” he said.

Another editor followed up with the appreciation of how their clients and company have adapted to remote work. 

“It’s something that we are used to and have done for some time — what we are extremely grateful for is how quickly our clients became virtual.”

Many creative types hope that we can return to an office setting so that we can physically interact with peers to produce successful projects. But numerous survey respondents expressed hope that this experience of almost everyone having to work remotely would change management’s attitude toward the practice.

Of those surveyed, 41% said that, because of what we learned with Covid-19, they’d be able to work remotely as much as they wanted in the future. An additional 26% said that they would have more flexibility to work remotely on occasion. Only 8% of editors and art directors said that they’d have to go back to an office setting full time, post-Covid-19.