Welcome to the latest guest blog by Catherine Bennett.
Remote working has been a novel experience for many workers during the pandemic.
However, for me and my team of transcribers, it’s nothing new; many of us have been working from home for years. My team at Fingertips Typing Services provides high-quality transcription services, data entry, copy typing, editing and all types of virtual secretarial services, tailored to the needs of our clients.
Remote working is very rewarding and a great source of learning. Much as I miss interacting with people and the banter that comes with working in an office, running my own business from home has enabled me to bring up my two sons and be there for their school activities.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the sudden rise in home-working has opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of working differently, along with the opportunities to work more effectively thanks to the amazing technology that’s available. We’re realising that, “It’s always been done that way,” doesn’t mean that we can’t shake up the 9-5 and challenge our dominant logics.
My partner works for a stockbroker in the treasury department and never in a million years did he think he could do what he does at home. However, the shift has been very successful. One particular achievement is that they have worked out a way to go paperless, with benefits on so many levels. He and his employer have gained personally from ditching the commute with cost savings and less pollution too. Do we need to fly halfway across the world for that conference, when the alternatives are gaining traction?
I have been collaborating with my clients to offer my skills, expertise and advice on the most effective ways for them to continue working. And I have also been learning new approaches from them. Their demands of Fingertips are changing too – no more face-to-face interviews and focus groups, and everything now being conducted over the phone or online. Almost overnight, Zoom has become ubiquitous for everything from daily meetings to choir rehearsals. With it comes challenges of accessibility, and we have provided live captioning to enable wider participation in Zoom events.
It’s a learning experience for us all as we find new ways to record interviews including video apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Ring Central. Although this is more impersonal and you miss the client rapport, it works well. In fact the recordings are clearer because the microphone is built-in, thereby capturing everybody’s voices. There is also no background noise and the technology is more advanced than a Dictaphone!
From Analogue to Digital
A digital existence isn’t for everybody and some industries hold fast to their tape recordings, including some doctors and the police. It seems unfeasible that they still use tapes but it is all about habit and ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. It’s understandable – tapes are a very secure way of working; they are sealed and if the seal is broken, it is obvious. The police also like the fact that they have a hard copy as opposed to a digital one that could get hacked or corrupted.
However, what if the tape corrupts? Wouldn’t it be better to have the interview backed up to a secure cloud system? The clarity from digital recordings is a boon when everything that is said needs to be captured. Clear recordings result in quicker and better transcripts. Digital recordings can also be uploaded straight away for transcription whereas tapes need to be sent out, wasting time and money. Our Phone In system delivers client recordings directly to us when once they finish the phone call recording, improving the turnaround time and helping to keep the business on track.
This unexpected period has taught us that there are digital solutions and ways to collaborate to address most working problems – the possibilities and potential innovations are endless and we are saving the planet in more ways than one.