Coronavirus bruises Uganda businesses

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KAMPALA, Uganda, May 1, 2020/ — As Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark International Labour Day on May 1st, 2020, the biggest percentage of the country’s labour force is grappling with uncertain future over whether they will be working gainfully in the coming months.

A new research by Success Africa and Ultimate Media Consult has shown that many Ugandan organisations and businesses have been bruised by the Coronavirus crisis due to failure to have crisis work strategies that would have ensured their staff members are adequately prepared for remote work following the forced closure of many work places.

Ethan Musolini, the CEO at Success Africa, says the majority of respondents in the April 2020 study are worried about whether they will continue to have work opportunities, or whether they will be paid for work done as their employers struggle to keep afloat.

“The fact that 56.6% of business performance is not being achieved while 15.1% of the entrepreneurs noted that business performance remained the same goes to show limited preparedness and adaptability by organisations and businesses to keep operating effectively, says Musolini, adding that many businesses have already announced salary cuts for April.

The findings from the study show that many of organisations were not able to meet the market demand, with some businesses closing.

Victoria University

“While this raises questions about the preparedness by organisations to ensure work continues remotely during crisis, it does also raise questions about business planning and especially diversification of product and services where an organisation finds ways of providing some of its products and services online,” reads the research report where 384 Managers, Entrepreneurs and Employees were surveyed.

However, not all businesses can practically adopt online or remote based work.

The report says while schools could have planned to offer learning online or using other means, there is hardly a possibility for hotels, tours and travel or hotels to continue offering their services during a crisis like corona virus where all people are encouraged to stay home.

The report notes that some entrepreneurs and managers who can are using electronic communication channels to meet their employees to set targets and review employee work performance.

Others especially from factories said some employees have camped at the workplaces from where they continue to work during the lockdown.

“This shows commendable adaptation by some businesses. We need more of such innovative work methods for employees and business to continue to operate gainfully,” Musolini says.

According to the report, the majority of the Managers (49%) were finding it difficult adjusting to work from home, 37% found it easy while 6% found it very difficult.

While majority of the employees are willing to consider working from home after the pandemic, the managers are not ready to let employees work from home, 44.1% said “Not at all” while only 20% ranked their willingness to let employees work from home for at least two days a week at 60%. 

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