It’s 7:50 am, I leave the house to catch the train to Croydon which is where the DWPub office is based. Croydon is in South London, about 50 minutes from the village where I live. I get on the train with numerous other commuters, many of which will be travelling 90 minutes or more to their offices in central London. I arrive at work at 8:50, turn on the computer and spend the next hour or so wading through about 200 emails that have accumulated over the weekend. I do an initial scan to pick out the “urgent ones”: information requests from prospective clients, a message from our PR agency about the blog we are preparing to launch, and emails from team members I need to get back to. I reply to these messages and then go through the rest of my emails. It’s 10:00, which means time for a tea break, a British ritual I’ve come to enjoy.
With a “cuppa” tea in my hand, I go back to my desk and review some website changes our IT team has been working on. DWPub has just re-designed its journalist enquiry service, ResponseSource, and one of my tasks as the manager of the German operations is to make sure that our services are well adapted and tailored towards the German-speaking market. Apart from German language skills, this website localization process involves a good knowledge of cultural differences, an awareness of specific user expectations or concerns, and an understanding of specific legal requirements. My background in German Studies and my international teaching experience have certainly helped me understand and value the deep implications cultural differences can have. But working with them in a business environment provides me with daily evidence that deep cultural understanding is one of the core factors in successfully reaching an international market.
I’m happy with the website changes and move on to a message from our PR agency about our German ResponseSource platform. While the service has been established among journalists and PR professionals in the UK for over 15 years, it is currently in the start-up phase in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where it was launched last year. We’ve been collaborating with a PR agency in Munich to reach out and communicate with journalists and PRs about the new service. This week, we prepare to launch a company blog in which we discuss developments in media and journalism. I exchange emails with the PR agency and members of my team to make revisions on our first blog posts and to decide on picture material. I’m expecting to receive final feedback by tomorrow.
I go out for lunch, take a walk through Croydon and enjoy some rare sunshine.
Later in the afternoon, a client calls and needs help with one of our other online services. I go through the service with her and answer her questions. I send a note to the IT team about a possible enhancement to the service that came up in the conversation with the client.
Between emails and phone calls I have a quick chat with my new colleague Mandy and explain to her some tasks she will be taking on. Mandy joined the company as an intern last year, and we were happy to hire her on a full-time basis in February. We talk about the internship program, a topic which I will explore in my next blog post tomorrow. It’s 5:00, and I leave on time to start working on my guest blog post for PhDs At Work.