COVID-19: Challenges of a Global Crisis for the Translation Industry
As professional translators, we work with multiple languages, which inevitably leads us to interact with diverse cultures and people from around the world on a daily basis. So, while it may initially seem unlikely, we are often the first to see the signs that harbinger a crisis or extraordinary events such as those that have been unfolding over the last few months with COVID-19. And around early March, we ran face first into one of these very signs: our interpreter cancelled a job for fear of becoming infected. As we hadn’t fully grasped the magnitude of the situation yet, we thought “what is happening”? Well, this was just the first incident in a series of events that would lead us hurtling towards what would soon become the COVID-19 “global health crisis.”
While it would be another week or so before things began to snowball, this incident was a turning point. You see, for the majority of people in our profession, the idea of working from home is ingrained in us. Aside from the word CONTEXT, it’s the first thing they teach you at university. However, there is still a small minority of us that work in an office. So, it was in that moment that we realized that things were going to have to change, that our privilege of being able to work from home would also become our responsibility given that we were dealing with a rampant virus that was potentially lethal. It was time to take stock of our options and decide on a way to adapt to this new situation.
And that’s exactly what we did and what we continue to do at Exero Soluciones. Although we had been in the process of updating our business model and digitizing our tools and resources, this situation gave us the extra push we needed to take the final leap. We completed the process a little over a month ago and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Although we work from separate locations, through a concerted team effort we’ve been able to maintain our productivity and output while also keeping our clients equally as happy. That’s why we’d like to share with our readers some advice directly from our team members on remote work in this time of crisis.
Concentration and Productivity
When it comes to being productive, the most important thing is to create an environment that allows you to concentrate and work comfortably while at home. We recommend that you pick a clean, organized space with lots of light. We also highly suggest some sort of visual stimuli to help prevent mental overload (a nice view, some plants, a picture of loved ones, etc). Similarly, you should invest in a good desk, a comfortable office-style chair and a pair of headphones (preferably noise-cancelling) for when your neighbors start to tap dance or toss around bowling balls. Don’t forget to stick to your normal work schedule, this way you avoid getting burnt out while also making sure you stay productive. And just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that breaks are suddenly less important. Try this: when you finish a task, get up and pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and let your mind wander a bit. When you sit back down to work, you’ll find yourself refreshed.
Our job, like many other office jobs, is sedentary. Before COVID-19, we would at least leave our house and commute to and from the office. But now, we’re stuck at home all day. And not surprisingly, our back, shoulders, neck and eyes are protesting. So, how did we respond to this challenge?
Promoting a healthy lifestyle has always been one of our core company values, which is why it wasn’t long before we started sharing tips, tricks, and tutorials with each other on different ways to exercise and stay in shape during the quarantine. Pushups, planks, yoga and even dog walking have become part of our daily routine.
Like your body, your brain also needs a good work out. We’ve found that stimulating yourself mentally is important because it keeps you in the right frame of mind during stressful situations. Some suggestions from our team include reading a book on paper, writing, cooking, or doing any other type of creative activity that’s easy on the eyes. We want to strongly emphasize this last part because, let’s face it, after 8 hours of staring at a computer, your eyes are going to need a break. Social distancing is a fundamental COVID-19 measure, but we also highly encourage screen distancing.
Keep Relationships Human
There’s more to us than just the avatar people see on the other side of the screen; whether in the midst of a crisis or on any given day, this is something that we should never forget. Does remote work mean that coworker comradery has to end? Of course not! Things like telling awful jokes during the coffee break shouldn’t be left by the wayside, they just need to be adapted to the current situation. That’s why at Exero we’ve been taking advantage of different types of applications to keep us connected. All work-related matters are channeled through Teams, which allows us to clock in and out, participate in group conversations and private chats, and share files, resources, and even a calendar. On a more personal note, at the end of the day on Fridays we get together for a virtual caña through Zoom to catch up and share what’s new in our lives.
We hope you found these recommendations useful and that they help you weather the storm of working at home. As for us, we will continue to work hard on our end and provide the best possible service. We want to do our part to keep the world spinning during COVID-19.
The Exero Soluciones Team