Everybody is working from home …
Corona causes people to be sent home and work from there. For translators, this has been their day-to-day scenario for many years, since there are fewer and fewer translators working as employees. Most of them do freelance work.
But now, even project managers, technical writers, and layouters work from home. Will this lead to another change of the working environment in translation companies?
The Corona Crisis as Disruption
External effects („disruptions“) quite often cause permanent change in our working life. Considering that students get their lectures and seminars presented online via MS Teams, GoToMeeting, etc., mayors hold online conferences with their city councils in order to make decisions, people of all ages order their meals online, since they are not allowed to go to their favorite restaurants, you end up with the question: will all of this disappear as quickly as it came over us?
A move to the home office does provide benefits: You need less office space and hence save rent. Adding new jobs is simpler (unfortunately, this also applies to removing them). You can establish employees close to clients without opening a new office etc.
On the other hand, this leads to modified technical processes. If people in the home office need to access data stored on servers located in the office, VPN access needs to be established and secured. This causes essential efforts, in particular with regard to the implied security aspects. Of course, the home office needs to have sufficient internet access speed, but that tends not to be an issue anymore.
The obvious question is:
Doesn’t a move into the cloud make more sense?
Access to all data and applications would be possible from everywhere. And the backup facilities of the most hosting companies are superior to home-grown solutions. But there still is the security issue: Who can access my data and – much more important – the data of my clients? Knowing that countries such as the U.S.A., China and many others require access to data stored on servers located in their country, you should better check by whom you have your data stored and where. Dropbox, Amazon, Google, and many others are not trusted by German and other European companies. This often causes the companies to prohibit the use of their services completely.
If servce providers want to work for these companies, they need to find solutions excluding the use of Google, Dropbox and the like. The GDPR must be considered always.
What if you process sensible data on your own servers and just move less sensible data to the cloud? But where do you draw the line? Anyway, this leads to excessive cost. In this case, you better move back to you internal server farm.
There is a lot that speaks in favor of the cloud solution. If I e.g. visit a customer and find out that I need some data not stored on my laptop, I can quickly and easily access them right there.
Personally, I believe the Corona crisis will accelerate the move to the cloud, since many companies now see the benefits and will learn from this „pilot test“.
But I warn against underestimating the positive aspects of personal, face-to-face communications. Even if you fall in love with a cloud solution involving home offices, you should consider creating facilities for personal communcations in a „classic office“.