By Gemma Wilson, deputy editor

Over the past few months I’ve been lucky enough to get out and about meeting colleagues across the businesses our magazines serve. Despite my reporting days being well behind me, I’ve actually found this an invaluable experience.

I drew the short straw and had to work a night shift to witness the Night Tube trials on the Northern line, but to my surprise, it was a pretty enjoyable experience. Apart from seeing all the incidents being tested by colleagues to ensure the Night Tube service was prepared for launch, I made a lot of contacts who have since been in touch regularly. It made me realise that even though I am not a reporter, when you work on an employee publication, there’s no better way to really find the news and be in the know than by immersing yourself in the business.

Taking the time to see how hard colleagues work to ensure their service is at optimum level is also a way to gain their trust . They are much more willing to feature in the magazine and forthcoming with information that you may never have discovered had you not spent time getting to know them.

The other thing you learn about the business is that behind the scenes are real people. They’re just like you and me and if you treat someone like a real person and build a rapport with them, it will serve you well in the future.

Sending people an email is all well and good if you are dealing with a business where most colleagues sit behind a desk. But if the majority of staff are customer facing, or are out on the road, you’ll find your best contacts if you get out there and learn the trade, see the warehouse or work a night shift!