A senior lecturer at the Department of Human Resource and Organisational Development, Kwame Nkrumah University Science and Technology, Dr. Hannah Vivian Osei, has urged organisations to adapt to the new normal by investing in virtual infrastructure that will help employees work from home.
In an e-seminar organised by the University of Cape Coast on the theme: ‘Coronavirus Pandemic, implications for workplace reforms and employee wellbeing’, Dr. Vivian Osei said the pandemic has shown that employees can work from everywhere and it is important that employers now consider it as the new way to go by investing in the requisite technology that will make remote working comfortable.
She further commended organisations for the quick health and safety measures put in place to ensure that workers are adequately protected in the course of their duties and called for more investments into office layouts to sustain the benefits to employees.
Also speaking at the e-seminar, Dr. John Gatsi, Dean of the UCC Business School, said International Labour Organisation (ILO) data shows only 10.7 percent of households in Africa had computers in 2019, and internet use was just about 28 percent whereas Europe was 83 percent, hence, there is the need for investment to be made in technology to enable productive activities be carried out everywhere.
Another discussant, Francis Eduku, Vice President and Human Resource Director of Goldfields Ghana Limited, touched on what he calls an important issue that has not been given much attention amidst the pandemic.
For him, one of the issues labour unions and leaders are silent about is the effect of the pandemic on psychological contract which are unwritten contracts that cannot be found in the collective bargaining agreements but have become part of the work culture, motivation and recognition. He said all these things have been eroded, in that, the unwritten promises made by management to employees for good performance could not be fulfilled.
He urged the Department of Human Resource Management of the School of Business to conduct a survey into the impact of the pandemic on psychological contracts to provide a balanced perspective of the effect on employees. He also called for collaborative, caring and engaging relationship between employees and employers.
Executive Director of the Institute of Human Resource Practitioners Ghana, Dr. Agbettor also explained that Covid-19 has increased socialisation risk for both employers and employee, as many considered the work place as a society where they interacted with people and shared many fond memories.
He encouraged employers, who are able, to provide interest free loans to employees or alternatively negotiate with financial institutions for flexible loans to minimise the financial anxiety.
Another Senior Lecturer at the Department of Human Resource Management, University of Cape Coast School of Business, Dr. Nana Yaw Oppong, mentioned that labour unions should start having conversations around redundancy procedures and negotiations so that workers laid off will not go home empty handed.