JLN Reinforces Work From Home Strategy With Decision to Close CBOT Building Office

CBOT Building
John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman and CEO

John Lothian News continues to go strong during the pandemic, but we have decided to close our office in the CBOT Building when our lease is up at the end of the year. The JLN team will continue to work from home and venture into Chicago when opportunity or the need arises, but we will have no permanent presence downtown after the first of the year. JLN has had its own CBOT offices since 2010 after incubating the firm in the offices of my former employer, The Price Futures Group.

JLN has worked remotely for years before the pandemic, starting with former MarketsWiki co-founder Jon Matte operating from Portland, Oregon, and then Norway. Patrick Lothian leads our video-editing and marketing operations from Ohio and now Tennessee. We recently hired a Northwestern University master’s degree graduate who had moved back to Alabama.

We started collaborating remotely on JLN in 2009 when we first adopted the cloud technology offered by Google. Every edition of JLN and JLN Options is constructed on Google Docs before it is processed and sent out via Constant Contact. Before the pandemic, every morning the JLN team worked collaboratively on the newsletter from home via Google Docs, then went into the office later in the morning.

The offices we currently rent (and hardly use anymore) are on the 16th floor of the CBOT Building, just off the elevator. We share the floor with such firms as Cognitive Capital and Blair Hull’s former firm. We are ending a five-year lease, but rented most of the same space for three years before that on a sublease from Kottke Associates.

The pandemic has shown us what we can accomplish working remotely full time. Zoom interviews have replaced the need for a downtown studio to shoot video. We have shot videos via Zoom with interview subjects in London, Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong Kong, and even Chicago. Podcasts are easy to conduct and record at home with a good microphone and a laptop or an audio recorder.

The pandemic and the work from home environment has also left us uncertain about the marginal value of y having a downtown office. The travel time we save is substantial, though I will admit it often leads to longer work days. The uncertainty about the financial district’s future, and an expiring lease, prompted us to take time to decide what to do next about an office.

In the meantime, we have an office full of FULL five-gallon bottles of water. If you are in the CBOT Building and use a water cooler that uses the five-gallon bottles, come trick-or-treat at our office. We are giving away five-gallon bottles of water this year for Halloween. You don’t even need to wear a costume.

Likewise, we have some filing cabinets and desks we do not plan to take with us, so if you are in the building and want to go office furniture shopping, make an appointment for when we are there.

One more thing: JLN is running a survey to see how other firms are managing the remote work environment. We ask you and your managers to fill out the survey and let us know how your firm was prepared for the pandemic and how it has managed it and its employees since it began. You can take the survey with this LINK. Help us with this survey so we can all better understand the impact the pandemic has had on our work lives.

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