Remote working, sometimes called telecommuting, entails carrying out usual job functions outside the traditional office environment. It is essentially work that is carried out, with no physical presence at the office location.
Remote working is typically achieved through the Internet; in the form of online groups, video call, and other online platforms such as Slack and Microsoft teams.
When lockdown was first effected on March 29, office workers unrelated to media or other exclusive services, were mandated to work remotely. In other to enhance their work, they utilised such channels as voice calls, e-mails, messaging applications, cloud-based productivity applications, audio conferencing, and meetings through desktops and mobile devices.
For remote working to be sustained after lockdown, affordability and availability of technology tools are paramount. Bear in mind that life in post-lockdown would be difficult as the economy tends to a recession.
Before lockdown is over, there is need to gather and reinforce what tools we have now, make productivity use of them, and invest so that they can serve well after lockdown.
Remote working has so far been peculiar to large and well-established organisations in Nigeria, as they utilise all their digital resources, including advanced video conferencing and online collaboration. These companies already have the platform for remote working in place.
However, smaller businesses tend to limit themselves to low-end resources, such as telephone calls, e-mail and messaging services such as WhatsApp. They might adopt a mix of technologies that change with the tasks at hand according to requirements.
Remote working after lockdown is still realistic as organisations can change their structures to realign with the demand of certain work activities.
Employees and employers can embrace the benefits of flexibility at work, better work-life balance and reduced physical costs.
Innovation can assist to solve the current limitations of remote work. Lack of digital inclusion, access to digital equipment, quality internet services, broadband penetration, infrastructure development, cost of technology tools and cyber security, are some of the challenges needed to be addressed.
Although, for remote working to be fully realised, concerned organisations would need to invest in it.
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