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Missing the Joys of the Newsroom — While Still Being Grateful to Work From Home (Column)

I hate working from home.

Don’t get me wrong: I love being surrounded by my family, and it’s swell wearing sweats and T-shirts and walking around barefoot or in a cozy pair of socks.

But I sorely miss the communal nature and constant hum of the newsroom and the in-person dealings I have regularly with our writers, editors, copy editors, web desk, designers, photo editors and colleagues on the business side. We’re a tight-knit group here at Variety, and we’re in constant contact with one another not only discussing stories, brainstorming and strategizing on how to beat the competition, but also talking politics, sharing personal anecdotes and joking. That comic relief is very therapeutic given the deadline pressures and the intense pace at which we all work.

For a highly social person like myself, I find working in my perfectly lovely home office to be professionally dehumanizing. I love the spontaneity of conversations not anticipated, or informal meetings that weren’t planned but happen multiple times throughout the day. The newsroom is a kind of living, breathing organism, unlike traditional offices at most companies.

I hope I don’t sound too whiny, spoiled and ungrateful about working at home when there are so many people who are losing their jobs due to the financial hardships caused by the closure of Broadway and movie theaters and the cancellations or postponements of film and TV productions. Nor do I want to disrespect the health care workers who are putting their lives on the line by showing up to clinics and hospitals the world over to take care of people with the coronavirus and other serious ailments.

I was struck by what CNBC correspondent Julia Boorstin said in an interview with Cynthia Littleton for her terrific feature in this issue about how executives who’ve turned their homes into workplaces are faring: “I am so incredibly grateful to have the resources and technology to be able to broadcast from home,” says Boorstin. “There are so many journalists who are out on the front lines telling important stories and so many doctors, nurses and scientists who are putting their own health at risk to do their jobs and help people.”

OK, I’ll never complain about this again. Promise.

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