COVID19: The ‘Future of Work’ is adopting the hybrid approach of working remotely – Vodafone HR Director

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Hannah Ashiokai Akrong

Director of Human Resource at Vodafone Ghana, Hannah Ashiokai Akrong, has advised leaders of organisations to adopt the hybrid approach of working remotely within COVID-19 and beyond. According to her, globally COVID-19 has influenced how organizations work, increasingly compelled companies to mobilize technology to aid work.

“The pandemic has impacted how we hire, altered how we work and compelled companies to mobilize technology to aid work. With about 90 percent of the world going on lockdown in March, a good number of business entities had to figure out how to still be productive with staff or employees operating from home,” she said.

“If you build the digital tools and infrastructure to work remotely, that’s great but the physical work space is key for brainstorming sessions, collaborations and team bonding. A hybrid system is the way to go,” she added.

She said this during her participation as one of the panelists at the 2020 Virtual Accra SDGs Investment Fair.

Ashiokai Akrong, who is in charge of managing the human resource of the telco giant, noted that she had to run teams and stay in touch with line managers getting updates of staff and progress of assigned work.

“With the informal sector said to constitute about 80 to 90 percent of Ghana’s economy, it’s imperative that the sector is digitized. When COVID-19 pandemic hit, some businesses in the sector such as deliveries and food services went online and utilized social media platforms. There’s no business which cannot harness the power of technology and innovation,” Hannah Ashiokai Akrong declared.

She added, with Vodafone Ghana dedicating September to SMEs, there is an impressive array of training programmes for those in the informal sector to digitize their operations to bridge the technological gap.

Ms. Akrong held that it was time modifications were made to education modules in current use where a lot of classroom learning is done within a theoretical framework and end of year examinations. She was of the view that with little physical contact, continuous assessment rather be done using more of online work.

According to her, “students can be given reading material ahead of a class for them to undertake research and be prepared for a discussion. Academia and industry must both play their roles.

It was heartwarming to have Rita Akosua Dickson, the first female Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology come to Vodafone Ghana to forge such a working relationship to involve industry more to know what exactly they require to prepare graduates who are job market ready.”

She further stated Ghanaian students and by extension African students must show interest and be equipped for jobs and workings such as Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation.

“There are many free online courses to take advantage of.” Udemy, Inc. the American online course provider aimed at professional adults and students has over 1,600 courses. She said adding Yale, Harvard, Coursera and the Microsoft partnership with LinkedIn all give free courses or paying ones for as little as US$15.”

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