‘Include Remote Working Policy in Business Continuity Plans’

In light of the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic and the uncertainty regarding the full extent of its cost, financial and otherwise, as well as the possibility of another disruptive event, globally or locally, leading recruitment solutions firm Jobberman has called for mandatory inclusion of Remote Working Policy in the Continuity Plan of businesses across the operating spectrum.

Speaking to the B&FT in a wide-ranging interview, Kwaku Agbesi – the Managing Director in charge of jobs at Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM) and acting CEO of Jobberman Ghana, stated that with the plethora of Tech solutions to allow for sustained if not increased productivity, it would be imprudent for firms not to adopt the strategy.

For him, a conversation around the subject matter by businesses and regulators with a view to standardising the practice must be had sooner rather than later, being fully aware that disruptions to individual firms can have a domino effect on other firms and entire industries.

“No one saw COVID-19 coming. As a matter of fact, even the best-prepared companies were taken unawares by the extent to which the pandemic has affected life. However, what we see is that the best-prepared firms were those who not only had a BCP but had also incorporated technology – which allowed for a smoother transit to remote working for staff.

“In the future who knows what’ll happen next? Another plague is bound to happen, if not across the globe then perhaps locally. As part of BCP, you should be able to put in measures such that your employees do not have to be in the physical workspace to be able to continue being effective. Technology has made this very possible, and employers, employees and regulators must embrace, even demand it,” he said.

Mr. Agbesi further revealed that in his interactions with some business operators, they are exploring the possibility of forgoing a permanent office space in favour of a temporary meeting place for the foreseeable future, as their operations have not been hindered by remote working.

While he admitted that the dynamics of most firms won’t allow for entirely remote working, he stated that even businesses like factories, which require hands present, must move toward employing technology to promote a shift system.

“Admittedly, it would be harder, if not impossible, to work remotely at a factory because of manual labour requirements; but even at places like factories, there should be a way for companies to let some staff work remotely while others run a shift-system – perhaps a morning and evening shift.

“Even this would be enhanced using technology like Excel spreadsheet for the roster, which can be sent via email or WhatsApp to reduce face-to-face interaction and provide a basis for records,” he stressed.

Despite lauding government for the implementation of a digitisation agenda, he admitted frustration that at institutions like banks use of the Ghanapost GPS address to validate customers is not yet widely applied, and tasked the authorities to ensure more compliance.

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