Editorial boards of Estonia's leading private media houses Postimees Grupp and Ekspress Meedia will be working from home until Monday.
"We have asked all of our desks to work from home both in Tallinn and counties," CEO of Postimees Grupp Andrus Raudsalu told ERR on Thursday.
He said that Postimees' new building in Tallinn is practically empty, with only a few people who cannot work from home there. "But everyone who can work remotely have been sent home," Raudsalu emphasized.
Editor-in-Chief of Delfi and Eesti Päevaleht Urmo Soonvald said the situation is the same for Ekspress Meedia editorial desks. "As we have announced, our people are working from the home office today," he said, adding that it concerns all Ekspress Meedia employees. "Everyone on three floors is working from home today, whiled the premises are disinfected. People will start to come back in from Monday," Soonvald said.
Employees of Postimees Grupp publications will also return to work on Monday, Raudsalu said.
Both managers said that journalists working from home should not impact news volume, with papers published as usual.
"Generally speaking, sitting in the office is not a prerequisite for what we do. In the end, we work with computers and can do that anywhere. As long as people have decent computers and internet connection. All of our systems are built to allow people to also work remotely," Raudsalu said. Only TV production crews need to come in to work, while they will try and minimize the need to bring people in for interviews, he added.
"We are doing everything in our power to make sure the pace, quality and quantity of our work doesn't change. While routines will be disrupted, our people often work from home over the weekend. I'm sure our readers, viewers and listeners will not feel any change. It can be accomplished very smoothly indeed these days, and we have everything that is required. We have always been prepared for such a need arising for whatever reason," Urmo Soonvald said.
He added that Ekspress Meedia has made necessary technical preparations. "Computers have been delivered to people who do not have them, and our IT department is making sure the transition is as painless as possible," Soonvald said.
Working from home concerns some 300 employees of Ekspress Meedia and 600 employees of Postimees Grupp.
"It is also a good test for us in terms of how we can handle working remotely," Raudsalu said.
Soonvald said three stories of the building will be disinfected. Raudsalu said that the company providing Postimees cleaning services has agreed to clean surfaces several times a day.
The Estonian Media Enterprises Association said on Wednesday that a person who attended a press party held on March 6 has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Because the person did not exhibit symptoms before March 7, others who attended the event are not considered to have had close contact with the virus and do not have to be quarantined.
Editor: Marcus Turovski