Is the future of work remote?

I started as a journalist where flexibility was a given. With the aid of technology, work was only starting to become more flexible and (at least partly) remote work just about made sense. If you think about it, press conferences rarely happen in the editorial offices. On the other hand, deadlines ensured I had to burn the midnight oil at home at one point or the other.

So I can only embrace the fact that technology made it possible for other professions to break free from their offices, too. This movement dates back to the 1980s and IBM allowing their employees to work from home.

The internet then accelerated the trend so much that, according to a Swiss study from 2018, 70% of full-time employees globally worked remotely at least on one day of the week. So what can we expect in the long term? Is the future of work remote?

Of course, its supporters answer with a resounding yes. Owl Labs’ 2019 report that surveyed 1,200 US employees concluded that remote work makes people happier and more loyal to their employer, to the extent that these people are willing to work more hours, as a way of thanking their employer for a better work-life balance, less stress, and no commuting times.

Companies that support such a set-up also enjoy benefits: they see an increase in employee productivity as well as a decrease in overhead costs: as much as $10,000 per employee a year in terms of real estate costs. Furthermore, less stress and more commitment mean fewer sick days and lower recruiting costs for the employer.

But not everyone supports this remote working trend to the same extent. IBM was again the first to make headlines two years ago by calling tens of thousands of employees back to the office. Others, like Bank of America or Yahoo, have quickly followed suit. Their most important argument? Facilitating collaboration and innovation, the success factors of our current times. Less cited, but identifying performance with time spent in the office (see incompetent management) still remains a benchmark for some employers.

I also have my share of personal experience that echoes those concerns. I have seen people being confused or lost working from home or showing weaker work ethics. I have seen bosses who are essentially control freaks. These groups are bound to fail in remote working environments. So who’s guaranteed to succeed?

Successful remote workers share traits such as self-discipline, self-motivation, advanced (digital) communication skills, general tech-savviness, and the mental strength to cope with loneliness. They fit best in companies with a culture of inclusion and transparent policies of equal treatment. In workplaces where communication channels favour neither in-house nor remote employees. Where individual responsibility for your work is just as important a requirement as being a good team player.

After all, despite the occasional hiccoughs, remote working is here to stay, and it is still not too late for it to find its place in your workflows.

Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár

We love a good challenge: how to deal with exotic languages

Every project manager – no matter what field they work in – has had at least one memorable project. You know that Project, with a capital P, which seems challenging and exciting at first, then drives you crazy while you are in the midst of it but makes you incredibly proud when you finally complete it. The one that teaches you a lot, helps you develop new skills and eventually turns into a success story you will be happy to remember.

Perfect Babel

According to, 7,111 languages are spoken today. And while just 23 languages account for more than half of the world’s population, if you work in the translation industry, you can easily juggle documents created in as many as 50 languages. Which means there are still over 7000 languages you rarely meet, and regardless of your extensive experience with languages, some of them are totally unknown to you.

The European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), an initiative that facilitates cooperation between migration authorities, approached us with a request: they had prepared information material for migrants who cannot or no longer wish to remain in Europe, to help their return and reintegration in their home countries, and these country leaflets needed to be translated into the local languages. Human rights is one of our specialities and a matter very close to our hearts so it was obvious that we wanted this job. The opportunity to work with ‘exotic’ languages was an added bonus!

The more the merrier

The home countries for migrant people included India, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with several more African and Asian countries. We expected some rare target languages; however, to identify the full list of languages required in these countries was a challenge itself, not to mention recruiting qualified and experienced translators. The complete list included Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, Gujarati, Hindi, Armenian, Kurdish, Nepali, Punjabi (Shahmukhi), Punjabi (Gurmukhi), Pashto, Sinhala, Tamil, Urdu, Kashmiri, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Pothwari, Saraiki.

Without efficient project management, the coordination of over 40 linguists would have ended in chaos. Thanks to our rigorous translator selection process and in-house quality assurance procedures, quality was not an issue. Local partners of the client were also involved in checking and approving translations, which in some cases led to additional work since the English source text had to be completely rephrased.

Translation is not enough

The client was glad to have one contact person for all the 21 languages but was even more pleased to learn that we could handle the typesetting for the leaflets too! From left to right, from right to left, Arabic script, Cyrillic script, Latin script – the layouts were as diverse as possible. Numerous correction runs were needed but this thorough approach proved effective, because even though English was a common language, misunderstandings did happen. Time zones and cultural differences made work slow, but we all knew that this was something you couldn’t rush. The patience showed by the client was an important asset throughout the entire project.

What may seem like “only a translation” to an outsider is actually a very complex job of efficient project management: drawing up time schedules, sending status updates, planning capacity, re-scheduling tasks, making sure everything is under control – whatever language is involved.

Written by Anita Salát, Communication Manager at Eurideas Language Experts

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Eco-friendly transportation: what are the options?

Greta Thunberg has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-carbon emissions boat to arrive at the UN climate summit in New York in order to direct attention to the atmospheric carbon pollution of planes. But what options do we have if we want to choose an eco-friendly form of transport in our daily life?

Generally speaking, public transport is the most efficient and greenest way of transport, as it can carry a large number of people with no significant time loss compared to cars – in some cases it can be even faster due to dedicated lanes and right-of-way tracks. Rail transport, including trains, trams and light rail/metros, is the winner in this category, as it is extremely energy-efficient and has a large capacity, but it requires a proper infrastructure. Buses have a slightly higher level of emissions of greenhouse gases but they are cheap, and require little modification to existing infrastructure (e.g. creation of bus lanes in the city centre) while providing the benefit of carrying a large number of travellers. A well-established public transport system can provide a real and most definitely a greener alternative for cars. Planes are more fuel intensive but their large capacity somewhat balances out this factor, and, while for large distances it is the most time-efficient mode of transportation, there are initiatives to choose buses or trains instead of planes for travel within the borders of a country or for short distance journeys.

While public transport is a great way to get around whether you are a tourist or on business, it is limited by its infrastructure (or the lack thereof), its timetable, or its capacity problems. Thus, there are times when we have to choose a mode of transport that gives us more freedom to move around.

Of course, one of the most immediate modes of transportation is walking – it has practically no environmental impact, it’s free of any infrastructural requirements, and it’s a healthy option. However, it’s a relatively slow form of transport and is mostly applicable for short distances. Bikes are as good for you as walking, with a bit more physical effort. And although it can cover longer distances, it’s not exactly the method one would choose to go to a meeting. Surprisingly, motorbikes can still be considered as an eco-friendly transport option, even though these can be dangerous in heavy traffic. Cars are considered to be the worst offender in this regard; carpooling and carsharing can mitigate their negative effects. There are several apps and initiatives that help people travelling in the same direction to share their cars and carpooling is seen by more and more companies as an efficient alternative for the transport of their employees, providing subsidies and other benefits in exchange.

There is a new trend on the rise: electric scooters provide a quick and fast option for short distance transport. However, there are some uncertainties around these. Their use is not properly regulated, in many places it is undecided about whether they can be used on pavements or only on the road/in bike lanes; and their proper placement is yet to be resolved – now people simply leave them when they get off them, which is not an appealing sight in the cityscape. There are some further environmental issues, for example with the recycling of their batteries or the fact that the scooters left on the streets are collected by cars.

Either way, transport affects the environment, and we cannot always use the most environmentally friendly option. But – as with other forms of environmental protection – being conscious and aware of the problems and trying our best to eliminate or overcome them is a huge step forward, while new technologies and infrastructural developments can also help our collective efforts to save our planet, while not giving up on effective transportation.

Written by Zsolt Beke