By Mark Kawalya
The pandemic that reshaped how people work globally is thankfully behind us. However, many Ugandans continue to work remotely, three years after the onset of COVID-19. This shift has not only disrupted traditional work models but has also changed long-standing social dynamics relating to work.
1.Effects on Work Execution:
Working from home has reshaped the manner in which tasks are executed. With a growing reliance on technology, more Ugandans have adapted to digital tools that facilitate remote work. Meetings have moved to virtual platforms, requiring better time management and efficient communication to bridge the physical distance between colleagues.
Rose Kabuye a project manager who works more from home than the office, says that she had to muster better discipline, which is one of the keys to successful remote work. While remote work has led to greater flexibility in work hours, more Ugandan employees have the challenge of maintaining a clear work-life boundary as the distinction between home and office blurs.
2.The Office Space Dilemma:
As more Ugandans work from home, employers need to ask themselves whether renting large office spaces is still necessary. With fewer employees physically present in the office, more companies are reconsidering the need for extensive office space that comes with increased monthly overheads. Some companies have opted for hybrid models, where employees split their time between working remotely and coming into the office. This approach reduces overhead costs and is the most common remote work arrangement in Uganda.
Peter Otieno, who runs a Digital Marketing agency, moved his business from its city office to smaller premises out of town. “Most of my employees could carry out their duties from home, so I decided to cut costs and move the business out of the city.”
3.Impact on Social Life:
Although the convenience of working from home cannot be denied, it has also led to changes in the way Ugandans relate with one another at work. Natural face-to-face human interactions are reduced as virtual platforms are used for brainstorming, coordination, and general communication.
The absence of face-to-face interactions can affect team dynamics, making it crucial for employers to encourage regular video check-ins and virtual team-building activities. Additionally, remote work has changed the work-life-social balance, requiring individuals to actively seek opportunities for social engagement outside of their professional spheres.
Kabuye notes that one of the challenges of remote work is that it can get lonely sometimes. “You do not have the option of walking up to a colleague and starting a conversation like you would in a normal office setup.”