By Anna Chinyoyo, Program Associate.
On Thursday 23rd April 2020 Smart Lab hosted the third episode of the Corporate Unwind series as an online event with the theme ‘The future of Work’. The COVID-19 outbreak is a tragedy that will have widespread and long-lasting implications for humanity and our global economy. Tanzanian businesses and companies are likely to be crippled by the effects of this pandemic. This entails a total change in the working culture and many more things related to how companies and businesses are run.
This event assembled professionals from Human Resources Management and various sectors like Mobile Telco’s, Tech/innovation Hubs, Financial Institutions, Startups, university professors, Development partners, development partners and many others. In this case it created a platform for people from vast industries to get to learn from each other, apart from the deep insights given by the guest speaker.
Jayne Nyimbo, Chairperson of the Association of Employers in Tanzania was the main Guest Speaker for the Smart Lab’s second Corporate Unwind and spoke under the theme "The future of work”. She started by explaining how much COVID-19 has been a blow to many employers. She went on by explaining the state of employers during these difficult times. She explained that most employers are still in a panic mode and might be making most decisions out of dismay. She went on by explaining that most companies are forced to make decisions like unpaid leave, reduction of salaries and many more because of fear.
Jayne Nyimbo explained repeatedly the nature of remote working. Most employers have never trained their employees to use tools that they suddenly have to rely on because of working from home. But also, the nature of where most employees live is not work friendly and on top of that not every employee is given the resources highly needed when working from home, a good example being laptops, internet and many more. All these factors hinder effective working when employees are working from home. And in this case the sudden change in the working culture is very hard to adapt to and might take a long time to start being effective.
She went on explaining what ATE is doing to reduce the panic and effects of COVID-19 on employers. She named a few solutions for employers to avoid letting employees go due to the difficulty in company operations. She advised on providing training on the use of tools that can support working from home. She insisted that employers should excel in transparency of the situation to their employees, and be proactive to listen to how those employees are dealing with these difficult times.
We also had Pamela Lwakabare, a Human Resources Consultant. She also gave a lot of knowledge on the nature of work amidst the COVID-19 crisis. She advised innovators to keep working on their innovation and if they are ready to launch they should do that without fear because they will be sharpened by the harsh business environment that will make them stronger when the crisis is gone. She also talked about the state of job seekers and people aspiring to move from one employer to another. She insisted that they should go for the opportunities they get but being mindful of the employers level of caring for their employees. They should be able to provide safety assurance, the necessary resources to work and assurance of sustainability.
After the questions the audience was given room to ask and answer questions. It was an insightful interactive session. The audience got to share their experiences and insights on the topic. There was a lot of room to learn about human resources and the nature of work, employee and employer reaction and the whole change in all kinds of industries caused by COVID-19.
The Corporate Unwind event hopes to keep being the bridge in the gap between the growing African innovation Ecosystem, startups, corporates and the learning institutions.
Smart Lab is an innovation platform that links learning institutions with corporate partners to empower groundbreaking solutions that will impact communities.