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  • The future of work is not a destination: Hone your skills.

    The future of work is not a destination: Hone your skills.

    By Adenike Babajamu

    That digital and AI technologies are transforming the world of work is no longer news. It is also not news that today’s workforce will need to learn and master new skills, and continuously adapt as new opportunities emerge. Several researches including ongoing ones have identified the kind of jobs that may be lost and those that will be created as automation, AI and robotics take over. The dynamics in the developing countries like Nigeria and other African countries may be slightly different and transition a bit slower from that of the developed world, nevertheless even for the developing countries, it can no longer be business as usual.

    The need for manual, physical and basic cognitive skills are bound to be on the decline as we climb through the year 2023 into the future. It will be matched by a steady increase in the demand for technological, social, emotional and high cognitive skills. While it is true that machine cannot do everything, to be productive in this age of automation, one would require a range of human skills from technological expertise to essential social and emotional capabilities. Gone are the days when you acquire two or three educational degrees and expect to use it to work for another 30 years. We will all have to continue to adapt, get new skills or possibly go for other types of training different from our degrees. Let me paint a scenario of the changes that has begun to take place.

    During the Covid 19, I visited the local private hospital that I had been using for more than two decades and the transformation I saw was quite dramatic. Their process had changed and was fully automated, paperwork was almost completely eliminated. I noticed that some of the staff were new and was amazed to see one of the previously engaged hospital attendant sitting smartly behind a system and capturing data. She had up her skills. The Customer Service also improved tremendously and I could easily identify people skills among the staff who had none in the past. Of course those who couldn’t cope were the ones I didn’t see. They had been laid off.

    Since Covid 19, several changes had taken place in the world of work. By the way, contrary to the expectations of many, the future of work is not a destination. It is continuously evolving and very dynamic. For any organization to remain in business therefore, they must adapt to the new development of technology. Similarly for anyone to remain employable, he/she must upskill and reskill. It is important to note that you don’t get drown in a pool simply because you fell in the water, you drowned because you do not know how to swim.

    I tell people that you do not fail exams because you did not know anything, but you failed because you didn’t know enough to pass. A few weeks from now and the year will roll over. Year 2023, or rather the future will answer only to those who aspire to do better and do things differently. As we know, you do not do things the same way and expect a different result. The summary is to hone our skills if we must excel in the new year and the future of work which is continuously evolving. This is the time to identify those skills and take concrete steps to actualize them.
    Whatever skills we choose to hone must be:

    1. Adding value beyond what automated systems and intelligent machines can do
    2. Must be operated and useful in a digital environment
    3. Must be adaptable to new ways of working
    4. Must be adaptable to new roles or occupation.

    There is no hard and fast rule as to the number of skills that may be required to survive in this new world of work. The secret is flexibility and openness to learn. Below are some of the skill that may be relevant.

    1. High level Cognitive skills: This include ability to think critically and logically in such a way that will result in proffering structured solutions to work related problems. It also includes cognitive flexibility; ability to adapt to change and conceptualize complex multiple ideas all at once. (ideation)
    2. Strong Communication skills: Knowing how to ask the right questions, ability to listen actively, learn new things, process information fast and efficiently to maximize output.
    3. Critical thinking and analytic skills that will result in timely problem solving and ideation
    4. High level interpersonal skills that will mobilize systems, develop strong work relationships; promote teamwork effectiveness, foster inclusiveness, collaboration, enhance mentor-mentee activities etc.
    5. Digital literacy is not optional. These include software uses, understanding of data analysis, cybersecurity
    6. Leadership skills. This must include self-awareness and self-management; ability to manage own emotions, self-control, take ownership and be decisive.
    7. Entrepreneur skills : Be able to break barriers of tradition, not just thinking outside the box but breaking the box of limitations to take quality risks. Must be energetic bold and passionate about convictions. Develop an achievement mentality.
    8. Creativity, originality and ability to take initiatives.
    9. Emotional and Social intelligence; These are unique human capabilities that cannot be replaced by machines. It includes qualities like empathy resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.
    10. Judgement and decision making skills. This is the subjective side of data analytics. Machines will not be able to do this.
      The list is endless and the expectations of employers are also evolving. There is no one cap fits all hence the need for continuous training and re-training.
      Let me conclude by saying, the future of work is not a destination or an end in itself it is evolving, dynamic and the demands will continue to vary. Only the dynamic employee will be able to take advantage and maximize top notch earnings from the opportunities that the future of work offers. If you don’t want to drown in the pool then learn to swim. Time to hone our skills to next levels.
  • THE  GENERAL CONTRACTOR PRE-CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

    THE  GENERAL CONTRACTOR PRE-CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

    By Peter Babajamu
    August 30, 2022

    In the construction world, where there is a massive influx of personnel (skilled and unskilled), professionals from the Engineering world, and across construction technology, there lies a responsibility for proper coordination. A General Contractor (GC) is responsible for managing financial resources, human resources (sub-contractors, trades, vendors), and time constraints to complete a project. As simple as this sounds, it is a complex chain of events broken down to the slightest activity possible to capture and account for all areas.

    The first step required before construction could take place is the conceptualization of an idea. The client or owner has typically referred to, conceives an intention to improve their structure or/and infrastructure that will positively impact their business or way of life directly or indirectly. These ideas may include and are not limited to developing a new structure, expanding an existing structure, renovating a structure, procuring new facilities for infrastructure, etc. It takes a while to conceive and implement such ideas.

    For an integrated project delivery (IPB), the owner generally seeks the services of a group or company of licensed consultants consisting of an Architect, a Structural Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, and an Electrical Engineer. Depending on the gravity and nature of the job that is to take place, other consultants may be required. The consultants help prepare and translate the owner’s expectations into detailed documents. These documents include project specifications, design drawings, contracts, and standard codes related to each deliverable.

    The first set of documents is not issued immediately for construction. Still, it is used as part of a tender process to allow the owner to employ the services of the victorious General Contractor (through a bid selection process). In addition, the first set of documents is required to obtain the necessary permits needed before the actual construction can be allowed to proceed.

    From the General Contractor’s perspective, the first step after receiving an invitation to bid (Request for Proposal) is the preliminary phase, usually referred to as the Preconstruction phase. The Preconstruction phase is the design phase where the General Contractor studies and understand the initial set of construction documents, prepare a budget, and provide a detail on the building methodology, schedule, risk, safety techniques, logistics, human resources, etc. required to execute the project. There are meetings from time to time between the owner, consultants, and General Contractor in other to foster communication about the project. The meetings usually result in issuing addendums adding new information or removing previous information from the construction documents. The GC usually requires assessing the existing condition of the proposed job site to aid budgeting.

    The preconstruction phase allows the owner to assess whether the project is constructible and helps to identify value engineering alternatives, green building options, and cost-saving options.

    It also helps in the overall selection of the General Contractor showing the highest level of capability and not necessarily the cheapest.

    The preconstruction phase can take as long as three months, depending on the size and scope of the job. Hence, the GC has a team that handles the requirements for this phase. The team typically consists of an estimator(s), procurement agent, site superintendent, a logistic coordinator and is headed by a preconstruction manager. The estimators are responsible for preparing the bill of engineering, management, and evaluation (BEME) or bill of quantity (BOQ) which provides a breakdown of the cost of materials, labor/services, and equipment for the project. The procurement agent handles negotiating and preparing the contracts that would be required in case the services of a vendor or subcontractor are required for additional budgetary information.

    The site superintendent, in this case, represents the operations team. They provide information on the general requirements, general conditions considered, and the logistics that need to be put in place to achieve the overall goal. In addition, they prepare the schedule and identify lead times which can slow down the project.

    The logistic coordinator is responsible for identifying and pricing priority equipment that dramatically impacts the project’s cost and time. Although they play a significant role in the construction phase, they are sometimes part of the preliminary phase.

    The preconstruction manager organizes the team, represents the GC in meetings, and organizes the final bid document (bid submission form, bid information form, prequalification documents, assumptions, and clarification).

    As soon as the bid document is submitted to the owner, the owner selects the General Contractor to execute the job based on several factors. Although it is typical and even a government requirement for public projects to select the lowest bid to remove bias, there is little freedom to consider additional factors.

    Peter Babajamu is an Estimating Assistant with Canadian Turner Construction.
  • Emotional Intelligence:Hallmark of leaders

    Emotional Intelligence:Hallmark of leaders

    Emotional intelligence remains one of the most prized hallmark of great leaders. How many times have you had to react in anger and frustration at your team members or direct support on their failure, poor performance and inadequacy in meeting the demands of their tasks? I bet severally; but how did you do it? Did you shout at them, banged on the table or even assaulted them emotionally? Most often, we do some of these in a bid to express our frustration. Unfortunately the outcome of our outbursts are negative impacts on all parties.

    Without a balanced emotional intelligence, an executive with excellent strategies, best training in the world, great innovations, an incisive analytical mind, smart and highly intelligent ideas will fail to make a great leader. It has been proven over time that people with extreme display of negative emotions have never emerged as  drivers of good leadership. We have several examples of highly intelligent and highly skilled managers who earned their promotions into  leadership positions only to fail at the job because of unbalanced emotions. It is also not uncommon to have not-too intelligent executives soaring at their new positions simply by their abilities to manage emotions intelligently.

    Very often many leaders realize at the end of the day that their outburst were way overboard. However, the damage would have been done and a damage control thereafter would not completely erase the effect. What then is the solution? Are people born with certain levels of emotional intelligence or do they acquire a balanced emotional intelligence as a result of training or life’s experiences? In other words, can emotional intelligence be learnt?

    Like leadership traits, emotional intelligence can be innate and also learnt. However it has also been proven that emotional intelligence increases with age in an old fashioned phenomenon called maturity. It is believed that as one grows with age and experience, there is a tendency to empathize more as well as deal with issues more realistically.

     It is nevertheless important to emphasize that building one’s emotional intelligence cannot happen without a sincere desire and determined effort. CEOs are to lead in the direction of emotional intelligence training of their staff. This is because emotional intelligence does not only distinguishes outstanding leaders but can also be linked to strong organizational performance. There is a direct link between an organization’s success and the emotional intelligence of its leaders and their team

    Daniel Goleman Identified five components of emotional intelligence at work that may also be applied to our private lives;

    1. Self-Awareness- The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others
    2. Self-regulation- The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting
    3. Motivation- A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence
    4. Empathy- The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions
    5. Social skill- Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport

    All of these five components are recommended to be incorporated not just in the training programs of an organization but must also be considered in the recruitment and onboarding of new hires. Now this does not in any way replace the competency requirements of technical skills and relevant qualifications. Rather, it should be seen as a compliment or the icing on the cake for the making of an efficient workforce required to meet the demands of this age.

    It would therefore be unwise to think that strong  intellectual capacity, expertise and technical ability are not important ingredients in strong leadership. But they would not be complete without a balanced emotional intelligence. The fact that emotional intelligence can be learned is an advantage that leaders should explore. The process may not be easy initially, but like all learning processes, it will take time, dedication and commitment to the process. It will also take lots of practice so that even when we fail, we do not give up on the process. Ultimately, the benefits that come from having a well-developed emotional intelligence, both for the individual and for the organization, make it worth the effort.

    By Adenike Babajamu

  • What do you read?

    I was a facilitator at the induction training of newly employed staff of a very reputable organisation in Nigeria recently. The subject matter was on Creativity and Innovation as tools for organisational turnaround. It was indeed a great time with the 170 trainees. In today’s e-world where machine is taking the place of human labour, the only survival strategy for any employee is to be able to go above what the machines can do. Artificial Intelligence notwithstanding, an employee who will survive in any employment must be creative and innovative.

    The need to do things differently and constantly think beyond the box has been over-flogged. The paradigm shift now is to think as if there was no box. Imagine the world is your space and you are limitless what would you do? When in the course of the session, the subject of sources of creative ideas was brought up for discussion, i asked the team of 170 trainees how many of them read books and to my dismay only about 15 of them were confident enough to signify positively. I was very specific in my question to exclude the Bible and the Quran because someone who reads a verse or two from the holy books would also claim to be reading.

    Its quite unfortunate that in this age of technology where you can store e-books on your phone and access to several e-libraries have been made easy, people still would not make attempt to read. What will happen to the next e-generation? The problem is not that people do not have access to books, it is simply that this generation have made a decision not to read. While i was growing up in the late seventies and eighties my siblings and i had reading competitions during our holidays from school. The bigger the book, the more fascinated we were.

    1. What then are our options if people will not read?
    2. How can we get our generation to be interested in opening their books again?
    3. Can the social media take the place of books in this generation?
    4. With the spate of fake, unreferenced information from the social media, how secure are information this generation is exposed to?
    5. How can we preserve knowledge and ensure it is passed on to people who will not read?
    6. What are the roles of parents, teachers, educational institutions and governments in improving the quality of the reading life of the next generation?

    I am aware that there are programmes organised by Association of Nigerian Authors and some NGOs to encourage reading in schools but what are the effects of these programmes and how has it improved the reading culture of Nigerians. Needless to say this trend is not just a Nigerian or African problem. In those days when you travel in aircrafts or even by road, it was not uncommon to come across co-passengers who had books to read in the course of the journey or while waiting at the airport lounge. This is no longer the case. All you see at such places are people pressing phones, tweeting, face-booking etc.

    Today the poor reading habit is impacting on the quality of graduates and employees that the society will make do with. All they know is what they are taught in school. They lack depth and are unable to apply basic knowledge to real life situations. I believe we can change the narrative and find a lasting solution if this conversation is taken beyond mere observations to taking drastic steps like introducing reading as a core course in schools at all levels.

    Adenike Babajamu (February 2021)

  • INGENUITY, CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION: SURVIVAL TOOLS FOR 2021

    Ingredients of Effective Leadership to Foster Creativity and Innovation in  Your Business
    Image Credit: Thrive Global

    No year has been looked forward and long awaited like the year 2021. After the challenges of 2020 across the globe, we all couldn’t wait to cross-over to this new and amazing year of great expectations. In-spite of the second and third waves (in some countries) of the Covid 19, January 2021 has been filled with activities. The “Almighty” US hand-over drama was just the “comic” relief needed to commence this new year. So let me welcome you to this year of all possibilities

    If you survived 2020, then welcome to your new era of ingenuity, creativity and innovation. These are the survival tools for 2021. You must be able to rise above all limitations presented by threats of lock-down and economic meltdown. We certainly cannot approach 2021 with the sense of year 2020. Too much time wasted, efforts lost and failed results characterised year 2020 particularly in developing counties of Africa. This is not the time to cry over the losses. The fact that nothing much has changed in the nature of the Pandemic and its spread is enough hindsight for nations, organisations and individuals  to deplore options that will move them forward in the midst of the pandemic and its consequences.

    Covid 19 will no longer be acceptable as an excuse for failure from governments, CEOs, and all people. We have had a year to prepare, mitigate, as well as deplore options to ensure business continuity. For example all schools should be in session either remotely or physically, all offices should be opened and rendering services if they must continue to be in business. Any office that is fully closed now, be it government MDAs or private companies was probably not rendering any profitable service or was never required in the first place.

    In this season only an organisation’s ingenuity and the creativity of her CEO will sustain the business. The earlier this is gotten right in January the better it would be for everyone. Covid 19 will not fizzle away. The world can only beat it by living and moving forward in spite of it.

    To drive the point home to individuals may I ask the following questions?

    • What are your plans for year 2021?
    • Are they documented?
    • Have you done a SWOT analysis?
    • How do you intend to achieve them?
    • What is your business continuity strategy? What options have you deplored incase of a lockdown or other unforeseen occurrence ?
    • What new projects do you plan to undertake in 2021?

    The above and many more questions require the attention of everyone this January. These must be settled early enough otherwise, we would once again fall victims of the several inefficiencies of the year 2020. Technology must be efficiently deployed to maximise returns. The new norms created in 2020 should be improved upon and all organisations should take their positions in the schemes of things. The truth is that “thinking outside the box” has become an outdated phrase. The box has been replaced by a global limitless space to be occupied only by the creative and innovative individuals.

    It is worthy to note that with or without the Covid 19 vaccines, the virus like all other viruses in the past will run its course. We will live our lives and succeed with it if we are determined.

    Adenike Babajamu (January 2021)

  • COMMON QUALITIES OF GREAT LEADERS

    By Adenike Babajamu (November 2020)

    You cannot motivate a team to deliver performance just by your authority or your title. The 21st century executive is no longer awed by the title of his/her boss. So wether you are a CEO, GMD, MD, President or Chairman of the organisation, you most possess qualities that will inspire, convince and encourage your team for maximum performance. You must continuously awe your customers by consistently delivering quality products. To do this you may need to take the lessons of sport to managing people using the following steps:

    1. Create an extremely performance culture among your team.
    2. Identify visible individual performance.
    3. Training at all levels.
    4. Establish a well defined and transparent selection process.
    5. Celebrate/ reward performance.

    Great leaders irrespective of the nature of teams being led, must possess qualities that will distinguish them and place them on the top of the pyramid of their team. These go beyond their IQ, academic qualifications and several years of experience. Most problems with organisations today even in the midst of high level Information Technology of our time are people problem.

    People are the driving force of all organisations. Great Leaders therefore thrive on excellent people management. This is however only possible and achievable by leaders with well balanced Emotional Intelligence (EI). From my experience and a study of great leaders, I have observed a few qualities common to successful leaders that are still relevant in present day.

    Great Leaders Build Trust: All great leaders among many things, start by building the trust of their team, stakeholders and that of their customers/clients. They do this by:

    1. Honouring all stakeholders (Staff, Customers/clients/ Community/Government rules. Customers may not always be right but they are always kings and desired to be treated as such.
    2. Developing and exhibiting character, professional competency and efficiency, consistently
    3. Upholding high ethical standards.
    4. Modelling the behaviour you expect from others by walking the talk.
    5. Admitting mistakes, apologising where required and promptly taking steps to correct them.
    6. Live above board

    Great Leaders are visionary: Today’s employees are not only interested in pay checks or salaries. They are motivated by the vision of the organisation and are driven by a sense of purpose towards its realisation. A great leader champions the vision of the organisation. He articulates it in clear terms and ensures that higher purpose always governs the direction of the organisation.

    Great Leaders are strategic: They not only define the purpose and create the direction of the organisation, they must have clear and effective strategies for moving towards the organisational goals. While this is not done unilaterally, they are collaborative and smartly seeking input and cohesion of all stakeholders.

    Great Leaders are creative and innovative: They know how to align all resources of the organisation (human and capital) to get the results they want. For examples;

    1. Resources such as people, finances, time are organised to deliver the plan, task, or goal maximally .
    2. They ensure that all operational processes are focused by establishing a self-sustaining system that is built to enable everyone to work the plan and deliver results with agility.
    3. They Continuously confirm that everyone understands their unique roles and responsibilities and their impact on the bottomline.

    Great Leaders Create a win-win work environment: to win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace, therefore great leaders ensure a win-win situation exist both in the organisation and in their relationship with the clients. This is demonstrated by creating value addition along the value chain. Internally the following must be put in place for the team spirit:

    1. Motivating the team to be actively engaged in delivering best class results by setting standards.
    2. Celebrating achievements by putting in place a well articulated reward systems
    3. Acknowledging shortcomings and introduce sanctions.
    4. Challenging all to do better through swift and constructive feedback.
    5. Creating an environment where high-performers feel valued and celebrated

    Great Leaders are result oriented: They are able to produce extraordinary results, meeting and often exceeding expectations. They go above the ordinary to the extra ordinary. Extraordinary leaders are conscious of their commitment to performance, and of their promises to stakeholders. They put in every effort towards honouring that promise and delivery of their trust by.

    • Repeatedly and consistently delivery of target.
    • Embracing and embodying a results-oriented mindset
    • They never loose focus of the near and long term goals.

    Leaders are leaders only because they lead the people efficiently and effectively towards the realisation of set objectives that add value to all the stakeholders.

  • LISTENING IN COMMUNICATION

    Active Listening: What Is It And How To Improve It | by Antonio Martina |  Medium

    The biggest problem in communication is not the language but often we listen not to understand but to respond. What a mess we all make of communication. If only we will listen more, there will be less quarrels in homes, offices etc. Listening, like all skills require learning. Unfortunately it is not taught in school. In studying the skills to effective communication 4 major areas stand out; writing, reading, speaking and listening. Incidentally while the first three are taught in schools listening is often taken for granted.

    Listening is an art that we must learn to cultivate in life. Have you ever wondered why a man has two ears and one mouth? I guess it is so he can listen  twice more than he speaks. Many times when we listen well enough, we find the answers to the questions in our heart taken care of. One must listen rightly, thoughtfully, effectively, intelligently, unassumingly and calmly. If you want to be a good listener you have to cultivate the habit of effective listening. 

    Most relationships including businesses fail today because we are all speaking and no one is listening. Often times we pretend to be listening while all we are doing is waiting to respond or react. Our responses are so formed in our hearts that even if the issue was attended to, we will still would go ahead to speak. Some times we just respond or react to a phrase in the conversation and leave out the substance.

     All relationships thrive on effective listening rather than speaking.  A fool who keeps quiet and listen more than he speaks is considered wise while the wise man who talks more than he listen becomes a fool in the multitudes of his words. Many times we do not even listen to our spirit or conscience. It is not surprising that often when a negative incident occurs in our lives we recalled how ”some thing warned us” and we always ended with the phrase “if only i had listen”. That “something” was God silently speaking to us but we failed to listen.

    Making a decision to listen effectively  is the choice of the wise and he will only get wiser. “Let everyone (therefore) be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listeners}, slow to speak{a speaker of carefully chosen words}, slow to anger {patient, reflective, forgiving…” (James 1;19 Amp).

    The first step to becoming a good listener begins with a conscious decision to change. Having taken that decision then you can do the following:

    1. Exercise patience: A good listener must first seek to understand and so must wait patiently for the speaker to conclude speaking, establish that he has concluded, pause and then respond.
    2. Focus: All attention must be towards the person who is communicating with you. It is not the time to multitask.
    3. Maintain eye contact. It is not enough to focus, you must maintain eye contact. If I had looked at my son when he was reporting the earring incident, I would have observed his pain or probably noticed that he was touching his ear.
    4. Maintain a positive posture. Do not turn your back on the person who is communicating with you.
    5. Wear an expression that shows that you are not just listening but also following the discussion. You may need to nod occasionally, smile or expressed surprise where required.
    6. Ask questions to clarify that you understand what is being communicated. Avoid assumptions or jumping into conclusion.
    7. Take notes. This is crucial particularly for young executives. Never ever enter a conversation with your boss or supervisor without a note pad.

    To become  good listeners we must learn to keep ourselves in the background. Developing the art of listening is a personal responsibility for everyone. Parents to children, teachers to students and vice versa, subordinates to supervisors. Whether horizontal or vertical communication effective listening habit will help to foster better understanding and excellent results.

  • WORK FROM HOME: EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

    Image Credit: Shutter stock

    Work From Home without setting measurable targets for performance evaluation of employees is an authorised vacation to employees and a loss to an  organisation. Unfortunately this is the case in many organisations today particularly in developing Africa. As we wriggle out of the Covid 19 pandemic, many organisations are at stretching point and a post-pandemic  survival will most likely be a mirage. It is therefore not surprising that several private organisations  are unable to continue to pay salaries and are shutting down.

    While it is understandable that not all businesses can be operated from home, several others have left the task of working from home to the employees without proper job descriptions, setting of measurable targets and evaluation of performance. In many cases employees were simply sent home to work without supervision or any form of monitoring put in place.

    The worst hit industry today is the public sector. For over three months middle level and field workers of most Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in my country, Nigeria have been asked to stay away from the office and work from home. The question here is what exactly are they expected to do from home? Let me mention that while they supposedly work from home, their salaries are still promptly paid from the states’ portion of the Federal Allocation meant for the entire residents of each states.

    Let’s look at a typical scenario; while the teachers employed in the private schools are engaging their students via e-learning, most children in public schools have been home in the last three months without any contact with their teachers or from their schools. These children will still have to compete with the other children from private schools. So I ask what is the job of the teachers of these public schools who were sent to work from home?

    When we compare the above scenario with the developed countries that have continued with their school curriculum in spite of the lockdown, we will realise how easy for the developing nations such as ours to plunge back into darkness and backwardness particularly in the educational sector. This thought must be considered on the concept of globalisation and the fact that no nation waits for another to catch up with her.

    Work From Home if properly structured or planned is supposed to be a win-win situation for both the employees and the employer. For the employers, it reduces operational cost such as cost of gas, electricity, facility and other maintenance expenses. It allows flexibility of work hours. Employers can also hire expert irrespective of their location. They also will not have to contend with such challenges as sick leave and other related excuses.

    The employees working remotely on the other hand see more positive effects on their daily work, are more engaged,and have a stronger sense of well-being than those in non-remote jobs with little flexibility do.

    Working from home is not about to disappear with Covid 19. As it has been said that dealing with the coronavirus is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Believe it or not, it is going to be the new norm and organisations must wise up to maximise its advantage or else risk the threat of shutting down. The government at all levels must also wake up to restructure her activities to identify areas that must be digitalised otherwise she will have to continue to pay salaries to unengaged staff. This is not the time to play politics with digital transformation in government.

    Agencies of government must begin to replace physical meetings of people with virtual meetings that will be more productive and reduce the risk of the spread amidst government workers.

    In the most competitive organisations, IT departments that once supported operations have already made the leap to leading them. The landscape in proactive organisations is being reshaped by transformation offices, that are helping organisations combine technical know-how with “soft” capabilities to maximise output. There is no doubt that any private business that will be post-covid 19 relevant will have to migrate with the world to the new norm of technology.

    The post-covid future is certainly not what it used to be and the earlier we get things right the better and faster we will be able to adapt. Otherwise our educational sector and all sectors of the economy for that matter will not be able to compete with the world.

    For Work From Home to be effective therefore, organisations must design new templates of performance evaluation. Top management must develop a work from home policy that is unambiguous of employee’s responsibilities and sanctions for poor performance. Employers must learn to turn their qualitative requirement to deliverables that are smart and measurable. Where deliverables are not measurable, then employees may not be held responsible for being on vacation.

  • Post Covid 19: What employees expect from their employers as they return to the office.

    Image Credit: IndustriALL Global Union

    That offices all across Nigeria and many parts of the world are re-opening is no longer news. However, many are yet to operate to full capacity. Most of the private driven sector have made a great leap in the re-opening of their offices, but in the public sector as well as many of the states’ civil service, less than 30% of the employees are back in the office.

    While this gradual re-opening is expected, it is crucial that all organisations including the government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) take specific steps towards making adequate provisions for safety in the workplace. If this is not done, spate of employee protests may accompany full resumption of work at the end of the pandemic.

    The question most employers should be answering now is what are the expectations of the employees? How can this expectations be met? One major thing that has become indisputable following the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, is the fact that many employees now prefer to work from home. A recent survey conducted by Pete-F2 Consult among randomly selected employees from both the private and public sector, revealed that a combination of working from home and working from the office is most desired by employees. More than 40% of the respondents want to remain working from home or work a few days off from the office. However 32% reported that they would only feel confident returning to the office if there was a lowered infection rate, increased testing facilities and improved employee welfare.

    From the above employers will need to create policies that are adapted to the culture of the organisation for those working from home as long as a number of their employees irrespective of their percentage continue to work from home.

    The concern of every employee particularly in developing nations where health care facilities are poor is the inability of employers to ensure that the workplace remains safe. The employees of the post-covid 19 world have expectations. Part of their expectations would include:

    • Provision of office space that meets the covid 19 physical distance requirement.
    • Frequent or scheduled  cleaning of the offices
    • Provision of hand sanitisers
    • Provision of face masks and protective shields

    These requirements will vary from employee to employee and from one work place to another. Generally, employees all over the world want to be assured of their safety before returning to the office. In Nigeria, where the health care facilities fall below standard, this assurance is much more desirable. Employers should at this point open up a conversation with labour leaders and workers on what safety measures have been put in place for employees. If there are scheduling of duties, it must be properly communicated and the process of scheduling must be seen to be transparent. There must be guidelines to ensure co-workers adhere to safety protocols. Sanctions for non-adherence to protocol must be clearly communicated to all employees.

    Employers must be very explicit about how employee health will be monitored and must make adequate contingency plans in case an employee is infected. One major recommendation that organisations should be considering in the post-covid world is the engagement of public health expert as staff of the organisation.

    The above responsibilities of employers does not preclude the responsibilities of the employee. Employees must comply to safety protocols or otherwise revert to options of not returning to work.

    On the whole, it is not a one cap fits all solution, it requires team effort for organisations to bounce back on their feet if they are to survive the demands of the new normal of business life. Employers must be sensitive to the needs of their employees. Both parties must find a balance between what worked before and what needs to be done to succeed in the next normal.

    July 14th, 2020.

  • Post Covid 19: What employees expect from their employers as they return to the office.

    Image credit: IndustiAll Global Union

    That offices all across Nigeria and many parts of the world are re-opening is no longer news. However, many are yet to operate to full capacity. Most of the private driven sector have made a great leap in the re-opening of their offices, but in the public sector as well as many of the states’ civil service, less than 30% of the employees are back in the office.

    While this gradual re-opening is expected, it is crucial that all organisations including the government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) take specific steps towards making adequate provisions for safety in the workplace. If this is not done, spate of employee protests may accompany full resumption of work at the end of the pandemic.

    The question most employers should be answering now is what are the expectations of the employees? How can this expectations be met? One major thing that has become indisputable following the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, is the fact that many employees now prefer to work from home. A recent survey conducted by Pete-F2 Consult among randomly selected employees from both the private and public sector, revealed that a combination of working from home and working from the office is most desired by employees. More than 40% of the respondents want to remain working from home or work a few days off from the office. However 32% reported that they would only feel confident returning to the office if there was a lowered infection rate, increased testing facilities and improved employee welfare.

    From the above employers will need to create policies that are adapted to the culture of the organisation for those working from home as long as a number of their employees irrespective of their percentage continue to work from home.

    The concern of every employee particularly in developing nations where health care facilities are poor is the inability of employers to ensure that the workplace remains safe. The employees of the post-covid 19 world have expectations. Part of their expectations would include:

    • Provision of office space that meets the covid 19 physical distance requirement.
    • Frequent or scheduled  cleaning of the offices
    • Provision of hand sanitisers
    • Provision of face masks and protective shields

    These requirements will vary from employee to employee and from one work place to another. Generally, employees all over the world want to be assured of their safety before returning to the office. In Nigeria, where the health care facilities fall below standard, this assurance is much more desirable. Employers should at this point open up a conversation with labour leaders and workers on what safety measures have been put in place for employees. If there are scheduling of duties, it must be properly communicated and the process of scheduling must be seen to be transparent. There must be guidelines to ensure co-workers adhere to safety protocols. Sanctions for non-adherence to protocol must be clearly communicated to all employees.

    Employers must be very explicit about how employee health will be monitored and must make adequate contingency plans in case an employee is infected. One major recommendation that organisations should be considering in the post-covid world is the engagement of public health expert as staff of the organisation.

    The above responsibilities of employers does not preclude the responsibilities of the employee. Employees must comply to safety protocols or otherwise revert to options of not returning to work.

    On the whole, it is not a one cap fits all solution, it requires team effort for organisations to bounce back on their feet if they are to survive the demands of the new normal of business life. Employers must be sensitive to the needs of their employees. Both parties must find a balance between what worked before and what needs to be done to succeed in the next normal.

    July 14th, 2020.

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