As organisations begin to eagerly – or tepidly – return to offices following the lockdown, the lessons learnt should transcend individual employee experiences and translate to the organisational discovery of what is possible in the midst of the unprecedented and extremely rapid change brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is guessing what could, should or will happen. The future is happening right now. As a people-centred organisation, pcl. has over the past several weeks committed its resources to navigate the inevitable changes to work culture in Nigeria since lockdown measures were introduced to curtail the pandemic.
The Federal government enforced the lockdown from the 30th of March until the 4th of May in Lagos and Ogun states as well as in the Federal Capital Territory. A few other states also voluntarily instituted lockdowns. When the government eased lockdown restrictions at the beginning of May, despite some panic about its implications, many organisations rushed to reopen their offices because the lockdown came at great costs to their businesses. A few have admitted their unpreparedness for the lockdown and lack of full appreciation of its implications; there is great fear that if a lockdown should be reactivated, many organisations will still not be able to react positively to save their businesses.
Maybe working from home is going to be better for the physical and mental health of workers because a reduction of time spent in traffic frees them up to balance rest and productivity. Perhaps it also gives employees more autonomy. On the other hand, working from home might result in lower productivity levels for employees, at least until there are systems in place to avoid the loss in productivity. This is a new mode of operation for most businesses in Nigeria, as such, many questions remained unanswered.