The prestigious Business Information & Media Summit, better known as BIMS 2023, takes place Feb. 23-24 and will be the first in-person BIMS since 2019. In this third installment of our BIMS Speaker Previews, Terri Travis, vice president of human resources at one of B2B media’s most innovative and successful companies, Industry Dive, talks about the challenges of a remote workforce and what the future looks like.
Terri Travis has a lot on her plate—with more than 400 employees now to look after. A featured speaker for the BIMS 2023 keynote session The Future of Work in B2B Media, Travis will only see her load get heavier.
This week new Dive newsletters were announced in the fashion, hotel and packaging industries for early 2023. In a recent interview with the Press Gazette, Industry Dive CEO Sean Griffey said: “There are still 25, 30 more markets on our whiteboard that we really want to tackle over time.” He added that Industry Dive could see their publications soon grow (from 29 now), expanding sectors they’re already in such as healthcare and IT.
“If you look ten years down the line, we want to launch into 20 or 30 new markets, but we also want to go deeper into each one and sub-divide a lot of the markets we’re in now.” So if anyone needs to know what work will look like in the coming years, it’s Travis.
Tony Silber: How do you see the workplace evolving in the next half decade?
Terri Travis: The 40-hour work week will evolve and won’t look the same in the years to come. Workplaces will need to remain flexible to recruit and retain team members. I don’t envision workplaces returning to a pre-2020 model. The “hybrid” model—meaning in-office some days and working remotely on others—will continue. Video calls, messaging and other engagement platforms, or other technologies, will be an integral part for companies to keep a strong level of employee engagement with their teams spread across the country and globally.
Since 2020, at Industry Dive, we have expanded our team internationally, and team members have the flexibility to work from where it best suits their needs. But along with this comes more consideration needed for local time zones, regional and international workplace culture and habits, and communication.
Silber: Is the shift to remote permanent?
Travis: The term “permanent” might be a bit misleading. At Industry Dive, we always searched for talent based on what the candidates bring to the table—not their location. We had a combination of employees who worked from home away from our Washington, D.C., headquarters prior to going fully remote in 2020 when the pandemic hit.
The shift to remote work gave employees a lot more power and control. If companies do not provide flexible workplace environments, they will not be competitive in the market and will suffer from a retention perspective. We have already seen this on the front half with our recruiting efforts.
I don’t envision a five-days-a-week, in-office requirement coming back in the short term. However, some team members find it useful to meet with their colleagues and departments in-office and we support that as well.
Silber: How does it affect culture and cohesiveness?
Travis: We created Industry Dive’s culture of teamwork and collaboration when it was just one location. In the past two years, we have evolved to a remote workforce of more than 400 people spread across the country, and now internationally.
We routinely ask our team what’s important to them to get a sense of where things stand. We ask how do we meet them where they want to be. Are there specific times, events, trainings and other things that would maintain the level of culture and cohesiveness they’re looking for? Moving forward, I also anticipate an increased focus—and resource allocation—on mental health and wellness. What was once considered a perk will now be an expectation, either through benefit coverage, mental health days, work-life balance and paid time off.
Silber: What will the B2B media workforce look like going forward?
Travis: We expect the B2B media workforce will continue to place an emphasis on accepting and welcoming remote workers. The teams that work in the digital media world can provide deeply powerful content from anywhere they like. Industry Dive intends to continue to provide an inclusive environment for talented journalists, designers, content strategists and all B2B media specialists.
Silber: Thanks, Terri. Looking forward to seeing you at BIMS!
You can register here for BIMS 2023 and take advantage of our early-bird extension!