Will Covid-19 pandemic end culture of working from office?

Friday, April 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Home office. Photo/Courtesy

Lewis Njoka @LewisNjoka

The current workplace set-up where most employees work from the office may be headed  for a radical shift following the global outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

Most employers have hinted at plans to continue with the work-from-home culture even after the pandemic is over.

Meanwhile, most bosses are uncomfortable with their juniors working from home during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a survey by human resources consultancy, Corporate Staffing, has shown.

The survey found that managers consider trust issues between workers and their bosses and lack of supervision as the main impediments to remote working and feel that employees are less productive while working from home.

Reduced supervision

Employers, the study adds, also feel that due to reduced supervision, staff working off-site could hand in poorly done work necessitating repetition of tasks. 

“There is mistrust by some employers. Some supervisors, perhaps because they feel they must be in control or don’t trust their workers, are uncomfortable having employees work offsite,” the survey says.

But employers are to blame too. The findings reveal that most of them never prepare their staff for such an eventuality hence employees lack the right training and capacity to fulfill their duties effectively.

Employees also lack of essential tools such as laptops and reliable internet connection which would enable them work smoothly from home.

The survey states that lack of internet is the biggest challenge for employees working from home (23.4 per cent) while distraction from family members comes second at 22.6 per cent.

Despite the challenges, nearly three quarters of the employers said they would like to entrench the work-from-home culture in their organisations once the pandemic is over.

A majority (71.1 per cent) of the employers said they would wish remote working to continue and be entrenched in their organisation after the pandemic is over while 28.9 per cent said they will not entrench it. 

More than half (54 per cent) of the employees wish that working remotely would continue even after the pandemic is over while the rest (46 per cent) would want it terminated.

Proper training

“Whichever way you look at it, Covid-19 has disrupted the workplace. There is need for proper training not only on the technical part, but also skills such as discipline.

There’s also need to ensure that there is infrastructure to support the employee,” said Corporate Staffing Services managing partner Perminus Wainaina.

Samson Osero, a HR consultant, concurs with the survey that the working-from-office setup is on the verge of experiencing a paradigm shift. 

“With the technology advancements we have, the future of the office is threatened especially when people can work from home for certain professions.

The shift to working from home is going to be gradual since employers need to be convinced to make work flexible,” says Osero.

The survey involved a total of 1,830 employees and 258 employers from various sectors in the country.

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