DIGITAL WORKSPACE

Coronavirus spread likely to shift workplace dynamics

To contain the impact of Covid-19, a number of firms across the globe have resorted to rethink the workspace, sending employees to work from home,

In Summary

•Meant to be the virtual compliment to the physical office space, the digital workplace includes the use of any device, software or platform that staff members use to execute their jobs outside brick and mortar offices

•Although the virus has yet to hit the country, there have 106,487 cases of Covid-19 reported globally with a total 3,600 deaths

Image: GETTY IMAGES

Firms have been urged to develop virtual workstations as the spread of coronavirus continues.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance recommended this as one of many precautionary measures in the wake of the deadly virus.

“Develop virtual workstations and enlightening employees to be prepared to offer virtual services and adopting work schedules when need arises,” Kepsa said in the report.

Meant to be the virtual compliment to the physical office space, the digital workplace includes the use of any device, software or platform that staff members use to execute their jobs outside brick and mortar offices.

Although the virus has yet to hit the country, there have 106,487 cases of Covid-19 reported globally with a total 3,600 deaths.

To contain the impact of Covid-19, a number of firms across the globe have resorted to rethink the workspace, sending employees to work from home, as part of efforts to the further spread of coronavirus.

Social media platform Twitter, Tech giant Google and investment bank JPMorgan are among companies that last week resorted to testing out remote working policies as a precaution. 

A global poll from 2018 by data and insights company Kantar found that of 33,000 people, 32 per cent valued a job where they could work from home.

Census data shows about 91 per cent of 10.862 million Kenyans aged 35 years and above are in employment.

Kepsa also urged suppliers to maintain all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/ prevention product prices adding that any attempt to raise prices should be penalized.

The private sector lobby group also wants the government to give firms tax breaks seeking to set up or expand their capacity to produce import substitutes.

This as the corona virus pandemic has spread has largely dented the supply chain as Kenya imports intermediate and capital goods from China.

The survey revealed manufacturing, tourism, service sector, agriculture, construction and the retail sectors are the most affected.

“The state should consider releasing VAT refunds to assist businesses manage their cash flows. They should also consider reducing corporate tax for Travel industry to 15 per cent for 2020,” Kepsa said.

The survey which sampled 95 businesses drawn from 17 sectors of the economy, indicates about 61 per cent of businesses estimated losses of less than Sh1 million, while 21 per cent reported losses of between Sh1 million and Sh5 million.

Sub-sectors that are most affected are textile and apparel (25%); plastics and rubber (14.29%); building, mining, and construction (14. 29%); food and beverages (14. 29%).