Boston Globe journalists will be returning to the newsroom at least three days a week starting Tuesday, May 3, according to a message sent to the staff by Linda Pizzuti Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media.
Henry’s message reflects optimism that COVID-19 has reached the stage where we can all live with it and manage it. Let’s hope she’s right. I imagine most Globe staff members will be happy to return. As Henry notes in her memo, the lack of downtown workers has had a devastating effect on the city’s economy as well.
Here is her full message.
Two years. We left our offices in March of 2020 with the hope that a few weeks would change the course of the virus spreading around the world. We informed, we comforted, we entertained, we helped where we could, and we got the critical news and information to our community when they needed it most.
And lately, our coverage has included an inspiring note of us emerging from this pandemic, with an increasing number of articles and columns about the declining infection numbers, offices reopening, what different companies are doing, and how important it is to the vitality of our city that people do come back to their offices.
As we all know, the world is different from 2020, and so going back to exactly the way things were is not our plan. We have been doing a lot of listening, a lot of reading, and a lot of deep thinking about how our business operations work. You have been able to get things done for two years despite trying circumstances, and the organization is thriving. The experience has allowed us to learn a lot about how we work. At the same time, we have missed the chance to think together in the same way. We have over 80 new people at the Exchange Place offices that we all really want to get to know. The connection, the ability to bring in more people to a conversation spontaneously, the ability for different parts of the organization to collaborate easily, the faster sharing of knowledge, the mentorship, the camaraderie of this special Globe community, the culture of being part of this historical organization filled with brilliant people — it has been harder to maintain. As a multimedia organization that is constantly innovating to provide the best possible journalism for our readers, we see the need and advantage of being together.
So, to balance our business need to work together and our understanding of how we can function well, we are going to start with a 3/2 schedule with three set days in the office and two flexible days. For this flexibility to work, we all need to be in the office on the same days — that way we all get the benefit and efficiency of working together in the same place at the same time. Input from managers across Exchange Place and a review of our operations have led us to the days of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in person in the office. Mondays and Fridays will be flexible for at least a few months, meaning you can work in the office or remote, as your work permits and as you prefer.
As an organization that is constantly learning and innovating, we will survey, listen, and reassess how it is working after a few months to see if adjustments are needed or if we have it right. “Right” means doing what is best for both this institution and for the people who make this institution what it is.
We are pacing the return in consideration of the month-long timing of various commuter passes, so we will officially be in person at the offices with our 3/2 schedule on Tuesday, May 3rd. To make this an easier re-entry, we are encouraging people to go into the office at least once a week in April — on whatever day works for you. Many of you have been going in regularly already and have been finding it productive. We are hearing from other companies that this helps with the transition back to the office.
Thank you for your help in this next transition. We believe that maintaining a physical office in the heart o
f the city matters. As a Boston institution dedicated to helping our community thrive, being there also matters.
Can’t wait to be back together,