Working remotely is here to stay
We all have our preferences in the way we work, but it’s clear that working remotely is here to stay. In fact, as a working model for many industries, including translation, it may well take over. Working remotely is far from being just a temporary measure to help us through the pandemic; working remotely offers great benefits to both employers and employees. Consequently, the number of remote workers will most likely only go up in the future.
At the same time, beginning to work remotely is a little more complex than simply staying home, and not everyone can easily make the switch. In this article, we will take a look at some of the benefits and challenges of working remotely — with translators in mind — and give a couple of useful tips.
Work/life balance and concentration
Remote working is constantly praised for having a better work/life balance. For example, you don’t waste time commuting, and aren’t distracted by colleagues who want to gossip while you are trying to translate. As an added bonus, you don’t have your boss breathing down your neck as a deadline looms! Linguistic and DTP work requires a lot of concentration, and many people say that they can better concentrate and control their working processes at home.
But the truth is, there can be plenty of time-wasters and distractions at home too. From your favourite TV shows, to toddlers who run around and start screaming mid-presentation. Even worse, there’s that fridge full of snacks — which is not only distracting but dangerous for the waist-line! Work/life balance can be great when you work from home, but you have to make it so. And being home doesn’t immediately improve concentration all by itself.
One of the best life-hacks here is to create clear boundaries, both for yourself and those you live with. Decide what your working hours will be, and stick to them. Decide when, and how many coffee breaks you will have — and stick to it! Don’t work in your pyjamas! Turn off, or mute, the notifications on your social media. Dedicate specific time and space to your work and limit the distractions within these boundaries to a minimum.
Software in the cloud
This is one of the great perks of modern technology; that allows you to work remotely, not just from your home, but from anywhere you want or have to.
Most software — team, customer, project management, translation and editing — is in the cloud and can be accessed from any device, anywhere, at any time. You can start working on a text or design project in the office, and then easily continue at home. Obviously, this blurs the work/life boundaries a bit, but if you use it wisely, it is a great flexible tool.
The only disadvantage is that you have to have good internet access to use software and files in the cloud. Keep this in mind if the internet connection where you live, or are traveling to, is slow or unreliable.
Whether you are a translator, localisation engineer, or project manager, constant growth and improvement are crucial to remain competitive in the translation industry. Fortunately, nowadays, you can not only work, but also train remotely. Furthermore, you can combine the two flexibly depending on your workload and learning requirements.
One thing that is arguably a loss for remote working is communication and socialisation between colleagues. Yes, we aren’t distracted by idle office gossip anymore. But we have also lost the fascinating linguistic debates that can happen on the spot, and going out for dinner or a beer after work becomes exceedingly rare. What is more, working remotely can lead to disconnect between team members and be detrimental to the results.
That is why it is extremely important to make an effort and maintain open lines of communication. It will help avoid duplication of work, prevent or even solve various issues, and overall keep the translation team connected.
Socialising a little is also good for the team spirit, but don’t spam your colleagues with personal chat — after all, they are also trying to maintain their work/life balance.