Although remote working was slowly getting embraced by many workers thanks to the fourth Industrial revolution, the trend got a big push by the recent insurgence of the Covid19 pandemic.
Today, many companies are supporting their employees to work from home, in adherence to the World Health Organization’s guidelines of social distancing and quarantine to curb the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. With the advancement in technology and digitalization, working from home in the 21st century is possible, a few challenges notwithstanding.
With telecommunication services being the backbone of remote working, MTN Uganda, the country’s leading Telecommunications services provider organized a webinar to engage the public on how businesses and their employees can harness technology to stay productive while working remotely.
The online workshop that was live on the MTN Facebook page saw a panel of MTN Uganda’s Enterprise Business Managers offer expert advice to business owners on how they can optimize remote working to keep their businesses afloat even during lockdown.
Stella Yobu, MTN’s Key Account Manager for Large Enterprises noted that keeping in close contact with customers even during the lockdown and supporting their needs is important. Keeping all communication lines open including company websites and social media platforms to reach out and respond to client’s needs is critical at such a time. This, she said, can also be a way of companies getting new customers on board and closing new business deals remotely.
“On-boarding of customers through digital vetting processes and online documents to close new businesses is possible and I encourage companies to use these digital processes. Telecommuting is the way to go for the future and it is an option that companies should look at,” Yobu said adding that companies also need to have online payment solutions to facilitate seamless cash transactions.
Yobu further noted that due to telecommuting, there has been a tremendous growth in data usage and incredible purchases of data and data-enabled devices as more people are working from home.
Phillip Walera, the Senior Manager, Technology solutions under MTN Business noted that in order to facilitate this paradigm shift, MTN Uganda has put in place a plethora of products and services to suit all their customers’ needs as they work remotely. Key among them is the MTN WakaNet which is strictly for home use. It gives users fast internet access from MTN for video calls, e-learning, surfing, gaming and entertainment among other data driven services. Other products that can support telecommuting include closed user group voice calls, Work from home bundles, SME internet packages as well as the Kazi bundles that are specifically tailored to suit the needs of SMEs.
Although there has been a spike in data demand, Sophia Mukasa, the Senior Manager MTN Enterprise Businuess Unit noted that voice calls are still a very important part of working from home. As such, MTN Business has ‘closed user groups’ offers to support colleagues who are working remotely yet have to keep in touch to keep work going on.
“Closed user groups products for voice call are ideal in this situation. Create a group and call each other for free at an affordable fixed price,” Mukasa said.
Mukasa further noted that sponsored data for organizations that want to help their clients to adapt to digital lifestyle is also available. Sponsored data is where an organization incurs the data cost to allow its clientele access their digital platform at no extra cost, just like the toll free lines where customers call a service provider without paying for talk time.
“All these services are vital for companies to stay afloat in these times when face to face interactions have been limited due to the Covid19 pandemic,” Mukasa said.
Mukasa finally encouraged employees to embrace remote working as it offers a unique opportunity to balance work and life while working close to the people that are most important to you. She however stressed the need for discipline and commitment to meeting work targets and deadlines even when it might be challenging since it is still a new concept to many albeit necessary for business survival and the health of the economy at large.