Over the past 12 months, things have been moving fast at Interprefy. We’ve grown from 30 to over 180 employees - a 600% growth of our workforce!
It’s not just our interpreters that are well-versed in different languages either, with our staff located all over the globe - from Switzerland and Singapore, to Brussels and Barcelona - from mountain lodges to camper vans - and speaking 27 different languages of their own.
However, despite lots of new friendly faces joining the business, there’s one thing that they have in common - an appreciation and ‘buy in’ to our culture.
In our remote working world, we are constantly communicating and interacting with each other - arguably more than we ever would in person!
Our proactive style of working creates a trusted environment, but it also ensures people are not constrained by the use of digital communication channels.
But how do you create an inclusive culture when your workforce is spread across different continents and timezones? What is it like working in a fully remote working environment? And how can teams stay connected and feel part of the organisation?
To answer these questions, who better to ask what it’s like to work at Interprefy than our team members:
- Jan Carlo Villalva, Account Executive APAC, Philippines
- Kübra Obali, Project Manager, Turkey
- Pierre Gandon, Project Manager, Taiwan
- Benoit Dubuisson, Business Development Manager, Belgium
What was it like joining a fully remote company?
Interprefy is growing rapidly, which means new colleagues are onboarded on an almost daily basis!
Benoit Dubuisson, Business Development Manager at Interprefy, is one of our newest additions to the team here, but says he’s already finding his feet.
“I haven’t been at Interprefy for a long time, but the good thing already about Interprefy is that we have everything we need to make remote working successful, which isn’t always true at other companies. I can always see my team members’ status, when they’re busy or available, and I know that when they respond I will always get the answer I need.”
One of the best days of your time at work should be your first day, and straight away you realise that a lot of effort is dedicated to making sure everyone who works at Interprefy is made to feel very welcome.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of working here is that you meet and speak with people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries that you would have never had the opportunity to do otherwise.
Catering to different languages is important for our customers, but also for our culture to bring people closer together and create a real sense of connection.
This is also having a positive effect on productivity and mental wellbeing as there is less pressure from outside influences when working from home. No stressful journey into the office or rushing around to get the children off to school.
Speaking from Brussels, Belgium, Benoit is happily married with three beautiful children, and he says that the working environment at Interprefy is having a positive impact at home.
I feel like I have strengthened my fatherhood connection while being able to work from home. For me, working at Interprefy gives me the opportunity to do something simple like drop my kids off at school in the morning, but it makes a big difference to your personal life being able to do that.” - Benoit Dubuisson, Business Development Manager
Benoit helps to develop the Interprefy business in the Benelux region, with NGOs and international organisations, which he says is very different from his previous job.
“Before, I was travelling a lot and there was always a lot of pressure to keep achieving more, even when you were going the extra mile and working long hours into the night.
“The feeling at Interprefy is very different because, although you still have some pressure in your role, you don’t feel it as much because you have an amazing support team around you while still giving you a real feeling of liberty and autonomy.”
How do you communicate with teams while working remotely?
Having been working at Interprefy for almost two years now, Pierre Gandon, one of our Project Manager extraordinaires, has had time to get adjusted to working remotely when Covid-19 hit, and says he hasn’t looked back since.
“In my role, we essentially help the client in the build up to the event, during and following up afterwards as well to make sure they’re receiving the right help and getting the most out of the Interprefy platform.
“It’s a lot of relationship building with the clients, but I have a background in international relations as well as Japanese language and culture, so I just love the fact that I get to help create some amazing events for clients there.”
Communication is an important aspect here. But with remote teams dotted across the world, we understand that it’s impossible to be available 24/7 - whether you’re taking the dog for a walk in the park or picking up the kids from school.
Unlike in a traditional office environment where you can see if someone is at their desk, when we send an email or a message to someone, many have come to expect an instant response.
For many remote workers, this has blurred the lines between home and work. It can be hard to switch off and step away from our machines, especially as many of us don’t work the usual 9 to 5 anymore.
But by using tools such as Microsoft Teams and Monday.com we can connect with people no matter what timezone they’re in - and, more importantly, understand when they’re contactable.
The tools we have at Interprefy makes it really easy to connect with all of the people here, no matter where they are or what time zone they’re in.” - Pierre Gandon, Project Manager
It takes some getting used to, but we believe it is a better way of working as the advantages of being more flexible outweigh any of the challenges.
It helps that managers are actively encouraged to reach out to colleagues who seem under pressure or might need a helping hand. The support of the team is a high priority, and you get a sense that everyone is working as a collective, which is what makes Interprefy great to work for.
What are the benefits of working fully remotely?
Interprefy has been promoting a remote way of working for a long time, and we’ve been encouraged to take advantage of being able to work from literally anywhere in the world (as long as we take a laptop!)
This is one of the things Kübra Obali, Project Manager, says she likes the most about working at Interprefy, with every day feeling a little different from the one before.
“The flexibility is amazing because you can really work anywhere you want as long as you have a good Internet connection, and you can even change your daily routine to accommodate your personal life.
“So, rather than waking up at the same time every day, commuting into the office and going home when you’re done, here I can do some work in the morning, I can take a longer break and then continue in the evening to plan it around my personal life and productivity.”
This means that we find it easier to manage our work across the whole day, rather than within the confinements of standard office hours.
Not everyone is productive early in the morning, for example, or it could be that they have a busier schedule in the afternoon or evening with events taking place in different time zones.
With remote working, it’s possible to start at one time, take a longer break, and then come back to work once we’ve recovered.
There is a high amount of team support when working remotely and we find that daily routines are being revitalised, because of this the benefits of increased flexibility are reaching into our personal lives, too.
Whenever I’m really struggling with something, the team will send me a message like, “Hey Kübra, are you ok? We haven’t heard from you in a while.” These are just some of the little things that you notice but they make a huge difference because you have that connection with the people around you.” - Kübra Obali, Project Manager
Instead of wasting hours every day on a daily commute, we can use that time to take a walk in the park or exercise or just have some personal time.
Mums and Dads are able to spend more time with their children, while others might choose to ditch the typical 9 to 5 in order to juggle their work schedule around their personal lives.
What’s the best thing about working at Interprefy?
Speaking out of Manila, Philippines, Jan Carlo Villalva is one of our amazing Account Executives in the APAC region. One of the things he enjoys the most is getting to know the people around him on a more personal level, outside of work.
“A lot of the teams in Interprefy are actually based around the same area, which is great because we have a group that can meet up and connect with each other beyond the computer screen.
“Being able to connect with people outside of work is really important, even if it’s just for a coffee break or pantry talks. We’ve started doing that and I’d love to do more with other teams to get to know more about them and just chat about our personal lives.”
Working for Interprefy means working for a globally orientated company and with people that are committed to keeping us on an upward trajectory.
We break down language barriers every day. This is a collective vision and mission which every single person within the company works incredibly hard to achieve.
A keen traveller with a background delivering creative events, Jan Carlo says he’s proud to deliver stand-out events for a wide variety of clients.
Working for Interprefy means making small languages heard across the world, which I think everyone should be able to enjoy.” - Jan Carlo Villalva, Account Executive
Seeing the new faces coming aboard to join us, you truly feel that you are a part of a much bigger cause: a vital cog in the entire business operation.
Everyone at Interprefy is a natural problem solver and it’s fantastic that we have the right tools and technology to support hugely diverse events across the world.
We’re proud to be part of a dynamic work environment; of getting to work and interacting with new people; to solve different challenges together; and to support a diverse client base that is tackling some of the major issues facing our global community at this very moment.
Plus, it’s incredibly satisfying to see the smiles on clients' faces when we do a great job and be able to share the success with everyone on the team.
Collectively connecting the world in their own language
A common theme in our conversations with Interprefy team members is a collective ambition to break down the divides that are presented by language barriers.
Our remote workforce is constantly challenging the norm, tearing down language barriers and completely changing what most people, businesses and event participants are used to.
We’re delighted to have such a diverse group of people working at Interprefy and will continue to search for the best talent to join us and continually drive us forward.
Our growth over such a short time shows we’re on the right path, and with the help of skilled, motivated and enthusiastic people on our team we are confident we can continue to grow and innovate.