Coronavirus Worklife: Dioptra’s Rights Staff and Colleagues Go Remote in Greece

From Publishing Perspectives:

When Dioptra Publishing’s staff was informed on Monday (March 16) that it would begin immediately working from home, “Mr. Papadopoulos made the announcement outside our office building under the sun,” says Ermioni Sakellaropoulou.

Of course they were in sunshine. Dioptra’s offices on Paraskevis Street are set in Peristeri, a suburban municipality in metropolitan Athens, northwest of the city center.

Established in 1978, the company focuses on nonfiction. Originally concentrating on nutrition and health, personal development, psychology, and spiritual life, the house has gone on to expand to  parental care, cooking, and Greek and international fiction including detective novels and children’s books.

Sakellaropoulou, who is the company rights and acquisitions editor, tells Publishing Perspectives, that CEO Constantine Papadopoulos “urged us to continue our work responsibly as always and added that everything will be back to normal as soon possible—but only if we collaborate and cooperate successfully together.”

And so, Sakellaropoulou and her colleagues said goodbye to each other and dashed home to start sorting out how to work by remote, some caring for kids and other family members while trying to keep the company going from home—an experience being replicated among the staffers of publishers in markets all over the world.

. . . .

At this writing, Greece has 464 cases of the coronavirus COVID-19, and has registered six deaths from the contagion. . . . In a way, it’s a blessing that Greece so far doesn’t see a more fearful level of spread, being relatively close to its Mediterranean neighbor Italy—which now has surpassed mainland China for deaths, its terrible toll standing at 3,405 and 41,035 cases among the living.

“Admittedly,” Sakellaropoulou says, “our correspondence from other publishers abroad has kept coming in, although not at the same pace as in the past in the follow-up period after a London Book Fair. But this indicates to us that the work still is going on.”

The bulk of what’s coming in at this point, she says, are new offers and updates on various companies’ interest, inquiries on titles available, and, of course, correspondence about previously made plans for collaborations ahead.

“Hopefully,” she says, “these trying times will come to an end as soon as possible.

“Nevertheless, we’re getting a chance to catch up on some of the tasks we often have to put off—manuscript readings, rights list readings—and we’re giving a lot of attention to titles that have been scheduled for publication and need attention from us.

“As far as my colleagues are concerned,” Sakellaropoulou says, “again through remote working, we’re trying to exchange ideas on how to keep up with the day-to-day workload. We’re exchanging photos and tips for working under these circumstances.

“And of course one of the main talking points in my department is what demands the readership will have after this crisis. Will they still want to buy nonfiction and self-help titles, as they used to in the past few years? Or will they buy fiction so that they can escape from the reality of the present?”

. . . .

“I want to send my warmest wishes to all the people of publishing,” she tells us, “and I look forward to seeing you all in person, once again, at our international book fairs, when they finally start operating again.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives (The OP includes photos of Greeks working at home.)

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