In the wake of COVID 19, organizations both large and small have sought to transform office spaces to accommodate fewer employees and others have closed their workspaces to switch to full remote working. This has ensured continuity of projects which would otherwise have stalled.
Remote working is seen as a comfortable yet challenging way to work, due to various factors and depending on whose perspective you are looking at it from i.e. Employer or Employee.
It is considered comfortable, due to the following reasons;
- It is a Lean management style because it saves on various cost elements on the part of the employer such as Office rent, Office running expenses, stationery, and to some extent fuel costs for employers who provide transport to work.
- Reduces the hustle involved in getting to work like traffic snarl-ups and waking up hours earlier than you are expected to get to work
- One gets to work from home/their house hence minimal interaction and serves as a ‘default/personalized’ social distancing measure
- It doesn’t require specific dressing especially those that work in fields that emphasize on dress codes like Audit & law firms
- It gives employees a sense of relaxation by working from a familiar environment and in a place where class/title differentials don’t matter especially people that may be struggling low self-esteem or are intimidated by class/title differentials
On the other hand, both employers and employees face challenges when it comes to working remotely such as;
- Delayed approvals – It takes longer to get certain approvals because of the follow-ups required on various online platforms like skype, email or even phone calls, this is not the case in conventional workplaces where it only requires few steps to another office to get approvals.
- Meticulous and very precise planning is required to set up meetings since you have to accommodate everyone due to limitations in various geographical locations e.g. you have to consider someone in the rural areas to be at points of good connectivity for them to be available for online meetings.
- In the quest of saving costs, most organizations do not consider how employees will manage to work from home i.e. setting up of home office and having reliable ISPs to ensure continuity of work, disruption of work due to power outages considering in most workplaces there are stable Connections and back-up generators
- Periodic reporting and supervision – This is very key for monitoring and evaluation but may turn out to demotivate staff since a lot of effort is put on the reporting side of work rather than the actual work being done. It may also be seen as micromanagement by employees and a lack of trust on the part of the employer.
- Most companies that have resulted in full remote working have cut down on employee development programs and training due to the social distancing, no gathering measures set by the Ministry of Health, and also to cut costs. This can be detrimental because these training and forums work as a break from normal work schedules and they also give employees a worth in themselves.
A solution to this would be to offer these training online during lunch breaks or tea breaks in the form of slides and short videos.
All these challenges are surmountable with the right attitude and will power from both the employer and employee. Its time we learn to own our workplaces whether working remotely or otherwise, and push towards the Common goal that is the Organization’s Mission and Vision because this is the new normal.
Author; Edwin K. Gitau – CPA, Finance Professional
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