Uganda: Employees Urged to Embrace Digitisation as Workplace Environment Changes

The Covid-19 pandemic has had dramatic effects at many workplaces in Uganda with several enterprises forced to go through unparalleled disruptions, and adapting to new circumstances.

Many enterprises have had to alter their operations and production processes, human resource strategies, work modalities and many other aspects of their enterprises.

This was revealed in the report: “The Next Normal: Changing Workplace in Uganda” unveiled recently by the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE).

Speaking during the unveiling of the report, Douglas Opio, the FUE executive director highlighted that the report would serve as an integral part and benchmark for employers to align business operations and maximize productivity.

He said: “From our findings, some enterprises retain in person work modalities with 23% citing the lack of systems for coordinating remote work and 21% alluding to risks of loss of productivity due to adapting remote work.”

Opio noted with concern that the labour force survey carried out in 2021 indicated 87% of the population has never used the internet.

He said the level of productivity and quality of work remains low due to several factors including lack of business records, lack competent people and low wage levels.

The survey carried out by the Federation of Uganda Employers FUE in partnership with the International Labour Organisation between July and August 2021 revealed that some organisations have found that there are technological or practical challenges to performance monitoring, such as internet unreliability.

Gary Rynhart, ILO Senior Employers’ Specialist in his remarks said the report presents an opportunity to improve work place relations. He advised employers to embrace flexi-work, digitalization, occupational health and safety to minimize high operation costs and enhance employee retention.

The report noted that Covid-19 created a range of new opportunities and challenges for the human resources side of a business.

“A great number of enterprises reported a big number of distress among employees as they feared the unknown. For many businesses today, the mental and emotional wellbeing of workers has become even more closely intertwined with the successful operation of the enterprise. Work spaces changed as a result pushing improvement on hygiene practices, ventilation and IT skills. The shift to remote work created new costs for both employers and employees with the former reporting a reduction in operation costs,” the report revealed.

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