The Director-General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Dr Timothy Olawale, has called on employers and organisations to develop develop the capacity for remote work, whereby staff members didn’t have to be physically present in the office.
He said in relation to the various stories shared by employees who have been having challenges commuting to work due to the recent okada and keke ban and chaotic traffic situation in Lagos state.
Olawale noted that;
We have employers that have already started leveraging IT to make life easier for their workers as long as the workers will deliver and be productive. However, working from home does not apply to every job. For instance, there is no way a security guard can secure the environment by working from home.
He emphasized that;
Generally speaking, traffic situation in Lagos is becoming more chaotic and it calls for government to strategise on how to solve the problem. The conventional means of adding more vehicles cannot solve the problem. The first thing to do is for the roads to be good. Part of the traffic is caused by bad portions on the roads.
According to him, for now, employers should treat the situation with understanding, adding that while the employees try to avoid a delay, in an unavoidable cases of traffic jam, “employers should treat it with understanding and not kill an ant with a sledge hammer.”
The DG identified a laptop, mobile phone and Internet facility as the three most essential tools required to work from home, noting that a number of jobs could leverage the IT to proffer short-term solutions to traffic issues.
Even senior executives can sign documents now without being in the office. There are a lot of jobs you can do from home. It only takes maturity and sense of responsibility. Once you deliver on your deadline, what is the big deal? It is the reality on the ground. More employers should embrace it. Employers should invest massively in infrastructure that can help employees deliver on this.
On her part, the Country Manager, Nigeria and Regional Sales Manager West Africa, Avanti Communications, Jane Egerton-Idehen, urged firms with flexible working hours to explore such to relieve their staff members of stress.
There should be transitional arrangements by the government before the ban. There is high demand for transportation and there are no enough buses to meet the supply. All the people that would have used keke or bikes are now forced to use buses.For organisations that offer flexible working hours, this is the good time to allow the staff members know they have such opportunity. It means they don’t have to show up at work at 8am. They can come to work at 10am and close at 7pm.
She said with such arrangement, workers would be able to manage the traffic while going to work and avoid returning home at peak hours.
Another thing employees can do is to allow staff members close earlier than normal. If they normally close at 5pm, they can start closing at 4pm or 4.30pm so that they don’t get stuck in traffic.
Besides, the Managing Partner, Human Capital Partners, Mr Innocent Oseghe, canvassed for both flexible working arrangement and IT use.
Flexible working arrangements can be put in place for staff members. Workers can also be allowed to telecommute. Employers should work out an arrangement whereby staff members don’t need to rush to work in the morning. They should be given enough time to be able to resume.
He explained that with okada and tricycles withdrawn from Lagos roads, an organisation can arrange for buses to commute their employees from a major bustop down to the office.
In the short-term measures, administrators urged employers to take strategic steps to address the traffic challenge.