Insights May 6, 2020

Working from home – a new normal for the world, old normal for us

By Linnea Dunne

The current global crisis is putting great demands on everyone and everything, not least the ability of businesses to adapt and transform. Innovation and agility may have always been important – but perhaps never before just as much as now.

Suddenly, remote working is the new normal, and across the world, organisations are shifting and changing in an attempt to accommodate new processes and workflows. In some countries, elected representatives are asking for additional funds for new home-working set-ups, while some businesses have furloughed entire teams to try to buy time for figuring out what this new normal means to them, showing that no one really knows how to manage this shift.

But we do. For us, remote working has been the norm for a really long time now; in fact, with the exception of a short stint in nice, shiny offices at the start, a form of working from home has been our normal model ever since 2010. We have a dedicated home office in the naturally beautiful surroundings of Derbyshire, and honestly, we wouldn’t change a thing.

A comfortable, efficient win-win

A quick look on Twitter shows – once you get past the jokes about respectable office tops combined with PJ bottoms, that is – that slowly but surely, people are starting to find a new groove. As the scent of freshly brewed coffee spreads and the elevenses is enjoyed with the feet touching the grass out in the back garden, the benefits of working from home start to become clearer by the day. Not only is it safe and easy at a time of uncertainty and social distancing; it’s very handy and quite comfortable, too. It saves time and cuts out stressful commutes, packed underground trains and concerns around bus delays, and there’s no need to pack a lunch box either. It’s hard to argue with the fact that, as a way of working, it’s more efficient in almost every way. As one Twitter user who was new to remote working reflected, why take a half day off work to go to the hairdresser when you can dye your hair at home in the morning in less time than it used to take you to get to the office?

For us at Living Word, this has for many years already meant that we can pass on a range of benefits to our clients. Not only can we offer flexibility in the form of availability at short notice and across time zones, but we’re also able keep our costs competitive without cutting corners on the stuff that really matters: the planning and production of your transcreations and localised campaigns. When we’re calm and happy, it tends to rub off on our clients, too.

A no-brainer for language agencies

It’s a fair caveat, of course, that there are professional contexts where the limitations of Zoom calls and virtual office spaces cause headaches that far outweigh the benefits in terms of flexibility and efficiency. It’s no coincidence that we were early adopters of this way of working, considering that we have a huge network of freelance linguists from all four corners of the globe. It suits us to work like this, and it’s a fair guess that more and more language and communication agencies will consider the benefits of remote working more as they restructure their organisations in the months and years to come.

Whatever happens next, we can promise you this: at Living Word, it’s business as usual. We’ve always been here – or there, as it were.