Last updateFri, 05 Jun 2020 12am

InterRed, home office and preparation for an emergency

In conversation with Bernd Cornely (taz, die tageszeitung)

As a result of the Corona crisis, many employees of companies are already working in the home office, even at publishing houses such as the taz. In the publishing house and in the editorial offices, most of the approximately 250 employees already create their content in the home office and produce news with a circulation of over 65,000 print copies and over 16,000 ePaper editions from there using the InterRed editorial system. In doing so, taz has adapted to this situation at an early stage in order to be prepared.

Bernd Cornely, who has been with the taz since 1994, is coordinator for work structures and personnel development. In 2017, he was responsible for implementing the layout reform in print and app. As a member of the project management team, he was previously involved in the introduction of the InterRed editorial system. He now brings his experience in the conception of print workflows for the cooperation between editorial department and publishing house to the design of the digital future.

Mr. Cornely, looking at the taz hausblog (blogs.taz.de) and the article "Pragmatism out of concern - instead of panic", it quickly becomes clear that you and your colleagues are preparing for the "emergency" at an early stage: "The whole building is inaccessible to the public, the entrance door in front of the taz shop is locked" and "In the corridors and in the departments you only meet a few people - and that's a good thing". How do you and your colleagues at the taz currently work?

Bernd Cornely:
At the moment most of our colleagues are already working in the home office. We have been dealing intensively with this issue recently and are preparing for a scenario in which we could maintain production without anyone having to come into the house. To this end, we have put together a pandemic team which, together with the colleagues from the IT department, whom we are looking at with admiration and gratitude, will ensure that everything runs smoothly.

What were your experiences so far?

Bernd Cornely:
Among other things, our early planning and considerations about who was with whom, when at the same time in which room and how to document this were important. In this way, we can avoid, for example, that in the event of an incident, half of the company would be paralyzed if certain regulations came into force and many employees had to be quarantined. But also the technology to be able to work from home or on the road plays an important role at the moment. Fortunately, we were well prepared even before the current situation.

How does the editorial staff currently work in the home office?

Bernd Cornely:
Some colleagues have taken their permanently installed PCs home from the office, others their laptops and still others work on their private devices from home. Either way, they all use the browser-based editorial system, and the workflows have not changed much, and work is largely the same as before. Or almost, because where Adobe InCopy was previously used for correction work, the InterRed contribution mask is now increasingly being used.

"With the clearly arranged page preview, the employees, who are spread over numerous apartments, can now see the status of the print production and the individual pages and thus coordinate their work much better. Without this possibility we would now have a big problem".

In the taz hausblog your colleague Klaudia Lagozinski writes about the challenges of the changed communication: "The office grapevine, the short official channels are now gone. What do you particularly notice in the area of joint voting?

Bernd Cornely:
Internal communication now takes place mainly via our team messenger and via video and telephone conferences. The Messenger service was also introduced previously, but was used more as one of several means of communication. Mail traffic has fallen sharply. And the core of our planning of the daily pages of a print edition is InterRed page planning. In the past, each page we produced was created independently and only when it arrived at the print shop did it become a complete product. There was no planning tool with which we could set up, control and design the status of a complete daily production. With the clearly arranged page preview, the employees, who are scattered over numerous apartments, can now:internally see the status of the print production and the individual pages and thus coordinate themselves much better. Without this possibility we would now have a big problem. At the moment, it is more important than ever for us to be able to maintain an overview from many workplaces, regardless of location. At the moment we have more rescheduling, more conversions and of course more communication needs than usual. InterRed with its numerous automations is an important support.

What comes after the crisis? Will the work in the publishing house simply continue as before?

Bernd Cornely:
We are currently observing very closely how the daily work is organised, what happens here and how, what can be optimised, what we can learn from this for the future and which processes we can take over from what we have learned into the times when it will again be possible to sit in one office with several colleagues without any problems. The topic of evaluation will certainly be important.


The crisis as a chance, so to speak?

Bernd Cornely:
Well, first of all, of course, the crisis is first and foremost a crisis. But one of its numerous side effects is probably that forms of communication will change permanently. We are very much looking forward to sitting together in the same room again. But what will also remain is the experience that a video circuit can also be quite beautiful. Topics such as content acquisition or forms of publication, for example the digital future of the newspaper, are now coming to the fore even more. With InterRed as our technological basis, we feel we are well prepared for these challenges.


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