Wood: A day in the life …

Day 48. That’s the number of days, as of this writing, that BizWest has employed a work-at-home policy for its employees. Our policy went into effect March 13, 12 days before Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a stay-at-home order for the state.

As Colorado begins to emerge, cautiously, from the statewide shutdown, our offices in Boulder and Fort Collins remain largely dark, with some of us going in for brief spells in either office, always alone.

Journalists are considered essential workers, and our days are filled. Our news team begins work early, with one person designated to prepare our morning newsletter, which goes out via email at 7:30 a.m. By 10, when our regular morning news conference call begins, our journalists have combed through emails, lawsuits, bankruptcies, WARN filings and other leads to get a pretty good idea of what they’ll have for the day.

At 10:15, editors with Prairie Mountain Media, including the Boulder Daily Camera, Loveland Reporter-Herald and Greeley Tribune, join our call, and we run through BizWest’s plan for that day’s coverage, much of which will appear in those publications.

But other news always comes up. Coverage of  COVID-19 has dominated our content for the past several months, and news breaks constantly. A quick search in our WordPress database identifies about 300 articles that we’ve written on the topic.

Today’s leads continue the COVID trend: The Brewers Association has laid off 23% of its workforce; Pilgrim’s Pride will report its earnings; President Trump has signed an executive order requiring meat-processing plants to remain open, angering officials with the union representing JBS workers; Vail Resorts plans a $500 million offering to raise funds; and Macy’s has sold its Fort Collins store. And many more.

During the next few hours, reporters spend their time interviewing sources, writing articles and continuing to seek out other news items. Most of the day’s content will be ready for our 3 p.m. email. Some are finished later and are added to our website, and — increasingly, these days — new news arises, some of which might go out as a breaking-news alert.

It’s a lot, and I see and hear the stress among our employees. It’s typical for a team member to go to bed exhausted and to wake up the same way. The economic collapse brought on by the coronavirus has required enormous change for everyone on our staff.

For news, it’s an incredible workload and lack of in-person collaboration. Our news team recently implemented a weekly Editorial Happy Hour via Zoom on Friday afternoons. It’s a chance to revisit the past week, plan ahead for the next, check in on one another and have a beer.

Every employee is having to adjust to working from home, or, to paraphrase Boulder venture capitalist Seth Levine from a recent podcast interview, “trying to work from home while sheltering in place.”

It’s an apt description. As I write these words from my apartment, a worker knocks on the door. He’s wearing a mask, gloves and plastic foot coverings, and needs to check my CO2 detector. A UPS truck idles on the street. Something that sounds like a reciprocating saw is making noise in the apartment next door. A cable news channel is on in the background, announcing that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has topped 60,000.

By 2 p.m. on Day 48, copy remains to be edited. A print edition must be prepared for tomorrow’s upload. Planning for upcoming webinars must be completed. Cash-flow projections must be updated with my partner.

But outside, it’s 66 degrees. My column is done, and a blue sky beckons. Maybe a short walk — mask on, of course.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133 or cwood@bizwest.com.