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Daily’s editor predicts newsroom working changes after office visit

A regional daily editor has predicted changes to the way newsrooms will operate in future after making his first visit to the office – 147 days after joining the newspaper.

Gavin Thompson, who edits the South Wales Argus, says he can foresee himself only working in the paper’s office for part of the day in future, with journalists working late shifts doing so from home “to avoid lonely walks back to car parks in the dead of night”.

Gavin, pictured below on his maiden visit, joined the Argus in May but has only now seen its new office in Newport’s Chartist Tower development for the first time, 21 week later, due to the impact of coronavirus on office working.

In a piece published on his LinkedIn page on Monday, Gavin noted he won’t be “repeating the experience straight away” due to the forthcoming national lockdown in Wales.

Gavin Thompson 1

He wrote: “If you are living in a shared flat with only your bedroom except for communal spaces, or in your parents’ house, or living alone; you may well be pining for the office right now.

“I try to have some banter and jokes on video meetings and teams chats, to keep things light. But it’s not the same.

“That’s why the office remains important. How we use it will change.

“I can see myself being in the office for part of the day, rather than all of it in future (why travel at peak time if you don’t need to); those working late shifts doing so from home to avoid lonely walks back to car parks in the dead of night, more flexible working for those who need it, and so on.”

Gavin went on to say his visit “wasn’t quite the real thing”.

He added: “There were only a couple of people in the building and none of my team have been in yet.

“The Post-it notes with their names on stuck to their desks and boxes of their belongings, looked a little sad.

But I’ll be making it a priority in the short/medium term to find ways to enable those whose well-being and mental health will benefit from the office environment to get back in, at least some of the time.

“And longer term, I’m excited to have a brilliant new office for the South Wales Argus team work in together. Even though, beyond Covid, that might only now and again be all at the same time.”

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