In 2020, most companies will make the switch to remote work. For some, it will be a temporary solution. Others will choose to continue working remotely even after we get over the issues that caused the switch in the first place. The localization field is no exception. Due to certain reasons everyone is aware of, we asked the representatives of several localization studios if they are prepared to move to their home offices.
Here’s who participated in the discussion: Denis Khamin (Allcorrect), Yulia Akhulkova (ITI), and Fedor Bonch-Osmolovskiy (Levsha).
How many employees are there in your localization department?
All our employees work in the localization department. About 60 people, that is. Some work from the office, others choose to work remotely. The capacity of our office is about 40 regular employees at a time. These are localization managers, editors, accountants, and distributors.
Our department consists of ten localization managers. There’s also about the same number of other employees: proofreaders, editors, management assistants, and coordinators. All of them work in the localization department.
10 of our employees directly participate in the production of localization material.
What do your working arrangements look like? Office only, remote work only, or both?
Our project and sales managers work in the office by default. Their job involves team communication, leader motivation, and performance reports. Editors and testers work remotely, as their performance can be easily measured via work hours or wordcount.
We’ve been working remotely for two years. The company operated on a mix of remote and office work for 26 years before that. We used to have an office in Moscow, and a smaller department in Yoshkar-Ola.
Our working arrangements are rather casual. We do have an office, and we’re happy to see our employees there. That said, we don’t mind them working from home, and they can even live in another city or country.
What do you think about remote work?
We decided to make the switch to remote work to the highest possible extent. We’re also going to put together a booklet on how to behave during the coronavirus outbreak. It includes helping our elderly family members to save them from the risk of unnecessary social contact. We’ll also hire corporate taxi services so our employees don’t have to use public transport. Besides that, we’ve been thinking of switching to an internal messenger service for a while. Discord, for instance. I believe the coronavirus will speed things up. We’re going to create workspaces and communicate via them. Sure, real-life communication is better, but we’ll have to adapt to the circumstances due to the pandemic. We can say from experience that veteran project managers have no problems with remote work, while sales managers don’t do as well when working remotely.
Some of our clients have switched to remote work, and it shows: now we need to communicate more in order to find out all the project details.
We don’t mind working remotely at all. It’s not good for everybody, though. We’ve encountered people who rejected our employment offers when they found out most people were working remotely, as they were seeking face-to-face communication and other social perks. There was also a case where an employee moved to the seaside, and then the rainy season began. He had no Internet connection during that time. Unable to work, he quit soon thereafter. As for now, he’s doing fine at a new job. It wasn’t downshifting, but rather an example highlighting the importance of a well-equipped workplace for stable performance.
There will be no problems concerning production. What’s going to get harder is the creative output, the kind where you get together, talk to each other, make drawings on a whiteboard, and stick stickers to the walls.
Is your localization department ready to make the switch to remote work?
Our quarterly report is scheduled for tomorrow (Editor’s note: March 13). That’s when we’re going to present all the changes. We should be ready by Monday.
We’re already working remotely, and we’re not prepared to return to the office.
We’ve been working remotely since Monday.