Let’s be real for a minute – the COVID-19 pandemic will have deep implications even after we manage to contain it. Some industries will have to completely reinvent their way of doing business (tourism is a great example) while others need to make various changes and adapt. We’re not going to be the same and the same will be reflected in our customers (regardless of industry).
Luckily, translators used to work from home have it a bit easier. But even if remote work is not a familiar activity, the negative impact can be reduced. You just need the right mindset and a whole lot of patience [:)].
Today I’ll list a few steps that can help people adapt at life during and post-pandemic outbreak.
Get Used with Working from Home
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22% of interpreters and translators in the US are self-employed and work from home. The same is true in other countries, including the UK. Sure, some translators work on location (eg: medical translators who must be present in hospitals) and some work in offices, but remote workers are more common in this industry.
Since the pandemic outbreak, more and more businesses have been forced to move their quarters in the online. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing – after all, there are lots of businesses that function entirely online. This reduces the costs with office rent and maintenance and keeps employees away from traffic, commute, and waking up too early in the morning.
As many specialists say, work from home is about to become the norm, so you’d better get cosy. Once you make the right adjustments, it’s not that bad.
Self-Management & Structure
The worst part of working from home is a lack of structure in the day. Ah, and there’s no supervision either!
It can be tempting to work in your pyjamas and stay in bed all day. But you’ll see that this is only a temporary indulgence. Real work happens in a chair, at a desk, surrounded by work-related items.
Also, we now have the trap of online streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and more) which is very easy to fall into. The best way to avoid the danger of binge-watching is to be aware of its power and create structure in your day.
At Translations123 we do it by creating a daily planner, so everyone knows what needs to be done by the end of the day. Also, planning highlights dependencies between coworkers – so you’ll know if a coworker (or a customer) is waiting for you to do your part, so the project can move on.
Keep your Customers & Data Safe
One of the main issues with working from home is data security. Your home network is not as safe as the one in an office and if you don’t keep your software up to date (apps, browsers, and operating system), your device is an easy target.
Hackers and ill-intended actors are very active during the pandemic and take advantage of every weakness they encounter. This means that your home computer can be a source of infection for the company (if you connect to their network) and for customers (if you exchange documents via email).
The result could be a slower computer (for you) and huge data breaches for the company or customers. It could also be ransomware that locks you out of your files and demands payment or it could be software that creates a back door in any device it manages to infect. And, until you realize the problem, it is almost always a bit too late to stop its spread (kind of like a pandemic).
To avoid this, it’s crucial that you follow the provided protocol and devices (if you work with a company) and keep your home devices up to date with the latest security patches. Also, stay away from free apps that don’t have reviews and sites you don’t trust.
The COVID-19 is such a popular topic right now that many ill-intentioned actors use it as bait!
At the end of the day, it’s important to keep our calm and stay alert without allowing the slew of news affect our judgement. This is a time to be flexible and adapt to a new way of living, where technology is the main communication interface.