Manal Amin is Founder and CEO of Arabize for Content and Localization. A pioneer in the field of language technology in Egypt, Amin has 30-year experience in the field of translation, localization and documentation. She founded Arabize in 1994 to meet the need for high-standard professional Arabic localization services.
Arabize is a leading content and localization company in the Middle East; helping international organizations extend their product distribution to new markets. To date, Arabize has served 250 world-class clients from around the world, accomplishing over 1400 projects yearly.
She was ranked 77th among the 200 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East by Forbes Magazine in September 2014. Amin has embraced flexible working arrangements for her employees since the 90s.
WoE: What benefits did you see that led you to implement flexible working arrangements?
MA: The type of work we are doing can be done remotely, especially when connectivity is good. Therefore, we started doing that with freelancers since the introduction of internet in Egypt in the 90s.
Then when we noticed that new moms needed more time with their babies, and they are crucial to work, we offered them to work from home until they can come back. Also during summer holidays, working mothers could not leave their kids alone at home and had to work partially or fully from home. The most important factor was not to lose a good employee.
WoE: How many employees had worked from home?
MA: We started with emergency cases (2 or 3), then established a full work from home system with special contract. These were ranged between 10—15, mainly young mothers. However, they had to come to the office once a week or in kick off meetings of new projects.
WoE: What arrangements do you use? Remote or flexible working; or a hybrid?
MA: Remote working was the exception, before Covid but we always had flexible working hours, where all employees can come late until 11 am and compensate end of day. So it was actually a hybrid model.
WoE: Some businesses are concerned that remote working will result in loss of productivity. How were you able to overcome this concern?
MA: Remote work should be controlled by monitoring productivity, especially when the type of work allows this. After Covid when all staff was working remotely, we noticed that some people were less productive, so we decided to force those with less productivity to come to office until their productivity is back to normal.
WoE: What advice do you give to employers/business owners to use remote working and flexible working?
MA: Flexible working hours are very suitable for some jobs, where you can calculate productivity and where you don’t need continuous interaction between teams or clients. Sometimes remote working can make people more productive, specially when they live in other towns or far areas, e.g. people living in Heliopolis and work in smart village, or the other way. At the same time, this does not apply to some administrative jobs and financial teams, who should be always in office. Close monitoring is very important and continuous communication between team members is a must.
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