A man looking puzzled while sat at his computer by a window
Many people have found themselves working at home a lot more due to changing circumstances. Credit: Unsplash

The names of those interviewed have been changed.

Research from the University of Oxford and Reuters found that in 2022 found that news organisations have embraced the shift to hybrid and remote working, with 61% of those that responded to the study saying they’ve put in hybrid and flexible working for their staff.

Many also work remotely full-time. It’s a change that has been largely embraced, but some dislike it. Three recent graduates in journalism spoke about their experiences working remotely,

David explains they feel mostly positive about working from home full-time, and they won’t be rushing back to the office. “I don’t have to get up super early to commute to work. I like that. I like having my own office space. I can work in my pyjamas, and make myself nice lunches. I really enjoy the flexibility it has.”

Reflecting on the negative side they say “Even though a lot of effort is made to be social, I think sometimes you do miss just being sat in a room with people. It can be a bit weird when you realise you haven’t spoken to someone all day.”

Jane, who works remotely one day a week, says that they’re glad they get to go into the office after a brief period of working from home full-time when they had COVID. “It was awful. I wouldn’t like to work from home five days a week.”

Joe, who works remotely full-time, says it can be a 50-50 thing, with some days being better than others. “Some days I love working from home. I wouldn’t want to change it and there are other days where like I kind of think it would be cool to talk to somebody.”

One commonality between all three graduates was running into technical issues. David said that because she lived in the countryside, WiFi could be an issue, and has impacted work meetings.

“I was hosting an interview between the CEO of a company and a person who was involved with the company and I was hosting that through Facebook on my laptop. And because my WiFi wasn’t good enough, it just crashed and would not work at all. So was a bit of a nightmare trying to get that up and running.”

Jane says they often don’t use WiFi, they turn on their mobile hotspot. “I normally connect to my hotspot on my phone, just in case it messes up.”

When asked if their work was understanding of this issue, they explain “I don’t tell them. As long as I’m doing work, it never comes up. I figure it out. Work don’t know.”

Joe says their WiFi could be a problem as well. “I had a couple of times where the WiFi has gone down mid-shift, which is obviously not ideal.” But for them, the biggest issue is laptop issues. “My laptop has to be plugged in at all times, and I’ve had power cuts that caused the laptop that I’ve got to die.

“If you are in the office and your laptop breaks, someone comes in and just hands you a new one. Whereas if this one breaks I’m out of action the rest of the day.”

A difference highlighted between the three graduates is the level of support on offer. David says “One company I work with has always been working from home and everyone was everywhere. They’re keen to support people, providing laptops and access to counselling. They set a workload for me each week, and as long as it’s done you can work when you like. They don’t mind.”

This is a stark contrast to Joe. “There is someone that you can talk to if you start to struggle, but the company isn’t constantly messaging to make sure you’re OK. You’re left to just get on with it.”

The company doesn’t give out equipment either, or offer tech support. “That’s my biggest complaint. Before I worked for this company, I worked for a local news website that liked working from home too and they sent me a desk chair, laptop, everything. When I moved to this job, I had to buy everything. If my laptop breaks I can’t work and I’m down £300 for a new laptop.

“You shouldn’t be expected to provide your own equipment. It’s the expense.”

Jane says they feel supported. “The company communicates on Skype, and if one of us is working from home, and there’s a meeting going on, then we’ll always dial in. If there is a meeting in the office on a Friday and I was working from home, they call me over Skype. I’ve got my own laptop and then I’ve got like a little notebook as well.

When it comes to tech support, Jane is happy with what the company offers, saying “We’ve got our own little tech support company that we go to whenever we’ve got a problem. My laptop broke not long ago so I had to send it off. They provided me with another one very quickly. So they’re quite they’re efficient with things like that.”

Looking to the future, in the next few years Jane would like to move to a new company and develop their career further. “I’d be sort of having a look at making my way into the consumer industry rather than being in a B2B.” David says they would like to continue working from home “I am just going to continue to work from home and push that. I do enjoy it and I’d like to carry it on.”

But Joe would like to change. “I’d like to be in a position where I could go into an office, at least some of the time. Just to meet the people that you work with, and be a team.”