With our constant search to stop the spread of COVID-19, social distancing remains the best way to flatten the curve. Globally, there have been over one million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 70,000 reported deaths. And the numbers are still increasing.
With the lockdown in many parts of Nigeria, especially Lagos and Abuja – Nigeria’s economical and busiest states, more companies have to adopt a work-from-home policy and this is to set to represent a major shift in Nigerian work culture, as it is one that has never been seen before.
There are obvious benefits to working from home, including fostering better work-life balance and easing the toll of long hours in Lagos traffic on workers. But other issues, such as constant electricity, water supply or data prices remain significant barriers to its long-term adoption. With only one week into the lockdown, some Nigerians have turned to social media to complain about what they are going through.
“Working from home is great, I have an in-house office, so it’s been easy. But I am frustrated, I can’t step out of the house, I can’t see friends and close ones, I can’t go out to eat,” said Media personality and influencer, Pamilerin Adegoke.
For many Nigerian employees, their offices remain one of the best places where electricity is guaranteed and where personal devices, including power banks and rechargeable fans, are often charged. Working remotely likely means incurring additional costs of powering generators. Then there’s also the problem of internet access costs.
“I hate it, I hate the idea of working from home, there is hardly electricity but the frustration of that is nothing compared to how much I spend on data and internet services,” says Radio and T.V presenter, Desmond Ekunwe.
Even beyond electricity and internet services, traditional Nigerian companies will also have to revise aspects of their organizational culture to embrace remote work than actual productivity. During this period, the executive of Lagos State has recorded its first-ever virtual meeting. The state’s official Twitter page tweeted “LASG says 14-day restriction announced by President Muhammadu Buhari will not affect governance in the State… As members of Lagos State EXCO holds a first-ever virtual meeting in the history of governance in the state”.
Attempting to find similar workarounds amid the uncertainty may soon become a necessity for even more companies. Remote work seems like a logical precaution for many companies that employ people in the digital economy, especially the new tech companies in the state. Still, it is not easy for many. Filmmaker and AMVCA winner, Bola Enigma, says “I have been often distracted and procrastinating, this is less productive and very slow.” Nevertheless, companies are enabling work-from-home structures to keep business running and help employees follow social distancing guidelines.
If you are working from home, here are some tips to help:
Keep it professional
Even if you don’t have a dedicated office, try to set up a work-space and make it off-limits to the rest of your household while you’re working.
Get in the habit of sending a prompt reply whenever you get an email, even if it’s just to say, “Got it,” or, “I’ll get back to you by noon”. Do your best to be available for conference calls or other collaborations, even if you don’t have strict work hours.
Set specific touch-points with your team
It’s smart to set a time each day/week for regular check-ins with your manager and/or your colleagues. That will not only help you stay accountable, but it will also remind your office counterparts that you’re still an important part of the team
Structure your day like you would in the office.
With the new enacted strict policies for people to remain at home during the coronavirus pandemic, one thing that is definitely certain is that this is a new wave in the country that would shapen the culture of the Nigerian workplace for a very long time. I don’t think we’ll go back to the same way we used to operate.
So, guys, how are you surviving this period?