Thursday, July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021

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From the Newsroom: Working remotely works well

By , Columbian Editor
Published:

CASCADE LOCKS, ORE. — I’m always a little slow to react to trends. (Did I ever tell you the story about the time 20 years ago when I told the Verizon publicist I wasn’t going to write a story about texting, because I was sure it would never become popular?)

Nonetheless, I decided to leap onto the bandwagon of remote work this week. Of course, I was a year behind the times. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, The Columbian pivoted in the course of about a week to offer remote work to newsroom employees. All but a handful immediately took us up on the offer.

I haven’t seen some of them since! But with almost everyone gone, I thought there should be someone in the newsroom to listen to the police radio and handle whatever might come up on the premises. So with few exceptions, I have been in the office on work days.

Some others made the same decision, and most days we have a core group of a half-dozen people in the office. As the pandemic has waned and the vaccinations have taken hold, more people have joined us, but most of us are still working remotely. We don’t plan to ask most employees to come back until January, and we will offer permanent remote work to a few.

I got my idea to try remote work when watching a TV show where people look at several RVs and then decide to purchase one. In the episode I was watching the people planned to live in their motorhome and telecommute.

Hey, maybe I could do that!

My wife and I own a cute little trailer. I use one of The Columbian’s notebook computers every day. The campground at the Port of Cascade Locks, Ore., has free Wi-Fi, and I borrowed the newsroom’s MiFi hot spot as a backup.

So I ended up working remotely on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Our camp was on a little bluff in the port’s waterfront park. We positioned the trailer so we had a view out the picture window of the abandoned steamboat lock and Thunder Island. When I ventured outside, I could see the Bridge of the Gods to my left and Stevenson across the river to my right.

I used my computer to connect via Microsoft Teams to my colleagues, and even participated in an editorial board interview with Julie Bocanegra, who is seeking reelection to the Evergreen school board. (To look professional I used one of Teams’ stock backgrounds and remembered to bring a nice shirt to wear.) Although I read the print edition at home, I read The Columbian’s ePaper, included free with my subscription.

I was able to get my work done and enjoyed the scenic views. On Wednesday morning, two osprey who had nested in the top of a broken tree were teaching their fledglings to fly. Twice I watched anglers catch big salmon out of the old lock works (many others were unsuccessful).

I don’t know if I will try working remotely again, because I missed my co-workers and felt like I am more focused in the office. But I can see its appeal and expect that, like using a phone to send text messages, it will be part of the future.

Looking for carriers

One of the many people at The Columbian with whom I wouldn’t trade jobs is Circulation Director Rachel Rose. It’s very difficult getting printed newspapers to our customers’ homes.

She said this week that the current shortage of delivery contractors is making her team’s job even more difficult. We have multiple routes open for adults with cars who would like to be independent contractors.

Delivering newspapers is for night owls — carriers start late and finish early, often working approximately 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. But it is a good fit for retirees, a parent who stays home with the kids during the day while their spouse is at work, or anyone who wants to supplement their income. The earnings potential is up to $1,500 per month.

Interested? For information, call 360-735-4609 or email at routedelivery@columbian.com, or fill out an application at www.columbian.com/delivery-opportunities.

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