Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, lockdowns have forced more and more people to work indoors or entirely lose their job. This new development definitely hiked the growth of a new workplace model called Remote Work or Flexible Working Arrangement (FWA).
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Remote work enables people to work from the comfort of their homes while using their own devices. But even remote work has to be powered by a flurry of services which the rise of technology has empowered.
In March 2020, following lockdowns around the world, Nigeria itself had to begin nationwide restrictions of movement. Transportation was largely paralysed and most people could not go to work due to social distancing.
Following remote work/FWA template which has been tried in corporate offices abroad, many Nigerian employers and companies were forced to quickly bend over forward with some of their previous workplace rules so that their staff could work as they wish – as long as they delivered on their roles and responsibilities.
Nowadays, a lot of meetings which used to happen in boardrooms or at conferences and symposia happen by merely using Zoom or Google Meet for video calls. A combination of other apps such as Slack, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, etc also now enable teams to collaborate on projects and still remain productive using electronic devices and the internet. From the comfort of their laptops, desktops, home console systems and phones, a lot more people are getting more productive than ever at any time in history.
In essence, what this new development translated to was that any workplace that was not able to adapt to remote work culture literally had to close down. This caused many people to lose their jobs within that period.
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The alternative for businesses that cannot quickly change their workplace culture was that their business could die off very fast too. Now, a few months after the lockdown, some workers who converted their roles and responsibilities to work remotely are still working outside the office.
So this brings us to the question of why there hasn’t been the option of remote work and FWA many years back. How open is the Nigerian workplace to letting some of the staff work remotely and flexibly? What percentage of workplace roles can immediately be available for remote execution?
At the government level – beyond the private sector capacity – what is the level of adoption of technology that can easily allow for workers to carry out their duties, roles and responsibilities efficiently? The solution lies with effectively digitalising a large part of the Nigerian economy for a concise remote work culture to thrive.
India did a version of remote work some decades ago when America outsourced cheap labour to India’s workforce. The Indian economy skyrocketed after, and the lives of its people also improved considerably.
Have you ever coveted a kind of life where you or your staff can work effectively from your/their home(s)? You may begin by breaking down aspects of your role into little digital pieces and pitch the possibilities to the Human Resources (HR) desk at your workplace. And if you are a business owner, you can lay the foundation for remote work to build upon by committing to digitising a large part of their company.
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