In Summary
  • New study reveals that many organisations had not prepared their staff for such an eventuality, which proved difficult for many to be productive away from their normal work stations.
  • On the employers’ side, the study said that working from home made employees less productive, perform poorly and waste a lot of time doing the same thing.

About three quarters of employers in the country are considering establishing a work-from-home culture once the Covid-19 pandemic ends, a survey has revealed.

The study said the virus has disrupted workplaces, forcing organisations to plan for remote work stations as one of the continuity measures in the event of an unforeseen calamity.

It, however, exposed many gaps in implementing the work-from-home system, including mistrust among supervisors and employees and lack of pre-planned structures.

The survey also noted that employees are facing problems working from home, including lacking essential tools such as laptops and reliable internet connection.

“There is mistrust among 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,” said the study conducted by human resources consulting firm Corporate Staffing Services.

Distraction from family members also came up as a great challenge for many employees, 22.6 per cent of them reporting it.

The survey, which involved 1,830 employees and 258 employers from various sectors, revealed that many organisations had not prepared their staff for such an eventuality, which proved difficult for many to be productive away from their normal work stations.

On the employers’ side, the study said that working from home made employees less productive, perform poorly and waste a lot of time doing the same thing.

“Whichever way you look at it, coronavirus has disrupted the workplace,” Corporate Staffing Services Managing Partner Perminus Wainaina said.

Organisations started practising work-from-home policies following President Kenyatta’s directive on March 15, as a way of minimising the number of people coming together and thus the spread of Covid-19.

Subsequently, 65.5 per cent of employers have implemented the strategy although not all have done so successfully.

Of those who have not implemented it, 68 per cent said they did not have supervision structures and were thus left with the option of requiring their employees to physically show up at work.

Only 21 per cent of interviewed employers said that their work falls in the essential services category as outlined by the government, meaning, their staff had to be present at work.

According to the survey, during times such as this, continuing training of employers and employees to ensure a smooth transition to remote working is vital.

“There is a need for proper training not only on the technical side, such as how to use the gadgets, but also skills such as discipline. There’s also a need to ensure that there is infrastructure to support the employee,” Mr Wainaina said.

The firm noted that many businesses lack a continuity plan on how they would run if a misfortune like Covid-19 hit. Only a fifth of respondents (69) indicated they had such plans.