The Challenges of Working from Home
Working from home has long become our new reality and is likely to only become more and more common over the years. And while there are certain benefits to remote work — we have covered some of them in the previous article, make sure to check it out — there are challenges as well.
How do you deal with the work/life balance that goes awry when you start working from home? As a Project Manager in the translation industry, how do you manage a remote team? And, most importantly, how do you stay away from the snacks?!
In this article, we’ll take a look at a few tips that can help various professionals in the translation industry work remotely more effectively.
*Note: depending on your particular situation, not all the tips may be doable — but try to use them as an inspiration, and come up with your own ideas.
Set clear boundaries
When you work from home, your work is always there, and getting away from it may be a challenge. It can also be hard to not let home and family life distract you from work. This won’t change by itself — you need to make an effort and set clear boundaries to keep work and home separate.
Here are some of the things you can try:
- Allocate a specific workspace: leave all your work there when the workday’s over; try and explain to family members that this is your ‘office’ and being there means you’re busy with work.
- Set clear time limits: don’t do work on personal time, and vice versa. This may be harder to do when you have a flexible schedule, but make sure to carve some personal time every day.
- Turn off social media notifications while you’re working and turn off email/other work notifications during your personal time. If you have to stay connected after work for some reason, limit your responses only to those messages that absolutely need it.
- Find a co-working space not far from home and give working there a try.
If snacks are your kryptonite, create boundaries for them as well: try ‘no snacks in your workspace’, ‘no snacks during office hours’, or something similar.
Become a software wizard
Chances are, you already use translation and editing software, maybe even some project, or time management tools. When working remotely, you may need to get better at it. Quite a few things can suffer when a team switches to working remotely: scheduling becomes a nightmare, team communication is harder, managing the workload becomes a challenge.
Here are a couple of things that can help:
- Project management software — Agile, Scrum, and similar — will help with managing, connecting the team, planning, delegating, etc.
- Time tracking — whether you are managing a translation team or tracking your own work time, it can help to both stay on track and maintain work/life balance.
- Online-conferencing software — while unnecessary meetings should be avoided, some conference calls will have to happen, so make sure the team is connected, and that you are using the right tools for your team (sure, Zoom is the most popular option, but is it the best for you?).
A few more tips
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when organising your remote work:
- Check-in regularly with the team — this will help maintain the connection, avoid both misunderstanding and duplicated work, and keep everyone on track.
- Maintain your professional growth — not being in the office doesn’t mean that you can’t have productive linguistic discussions with your colleagues or do professional training; all of this is possible online.
- Make sure your internet connection is good — and have a backup plan in case it (or any of your software) fails.
- Be mindful of your health — working from home can often mean you move around less and snack more; be aware of your bad habits and do your best to keep them under control.
- Explore different options — if one technique or piece of software doesn’t seem to work for you, it doesn’t mean you failed at remote working, it just means you should give other tips/life-hacks a try.