Academic publishing staffers work from home

Academic publishing staffers work from home

Academic houses including Wiley, Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press have this week been sending employees home to work remotely, in line with their trade counterparts.

A Wiley spokesperson told The Bookseller: "As of Monday, 16th March, Wiley has asked all colleagues around the world to work from home until further notice, including teams based in the Wiley Chichester, London and Oxford offices. We are supporting our teams with the technology they need to do the great work vital to our clients, customers, and the education and research communities."

The only exception to the rule is Wiley's Bognor Regis EMEA distribution centre, "to ensure the continuity of business-critical functions" in supply chain and customer support, with Wiley "taking every precaution to ensure everyone's safety, including sanitising all work areas several times a day and maintaining social distancing measures when possible".

At OUP, a spokesperson said that as a global organisation, the publisher had been monitoring developments with the coronavirus since it was first identified, and introducing the right steps at a local level to support employees across the world.  "For some time, we have been asking employees to self-isolate if they displayed any coronavirus symptoms, as well as giving people who are deemed more vulnerable the option to work from home if they had any concerns.

"Following the latest advice from the UK government, all UK-based employees have been asked to work from home if they can. To support this move, we have provided employees with useful information on effective home working, as well as how to look after their mental health and wellbeing. Where working from home isn't possible, and employees are required to come into the office, we are taking additional steps to protect and reassure them as far as possible, such as increasing the level and frequency of office cleaning, placing hand sanitiser at key points and meeting rooms within the office, and giving them the option to travel into the office at non-peak hours."

The publisher is also granting all employees globally paid, authorised leave if they have to take unplanned absence—for example, because of childcare, or because they have to self-isolate and are unable to work from home.

CUP staffers in New York are working from home, and in the Cambridge office staff are working from home "where possible", while the publisher is also working "closely" with colleagues in other offices around the globe. "We have robust plans in place to maintain services to our global communities of teachers, learners, researchers and institutions. Our business continuity teams are meeting daily to assess the situation and we are working closely with our suppliers to continue with business as usual," said a spokesperson.

Like other school and college publishers, Wiley is helping instructors who need to teach remotely, including offering free access for the remainder of the spring term to teachers who haven't adopted an online learning solution like WileyPLUS, and existing support for adopters such as extension of due dates, adjusting assignments or increasing the capacity to work remotely. OUP is providing resources to teachers and students to support home learning.