A few months ago the world that we knew was turned upside down with the global pandemic, covid 19. We have seen schools and businesses forced to close and entire countries placed on partial or complete lock down in an attempt to control the spread of this deadly virus. The effect of this on the economy is without a doubt crippling.
I live on an island where tourism is at the forefront of the country's local economy. With the lock down of our air and sea ports, empty hotels, closed restaurants and bars and the closure of all tourist related activities we have seen this sector take a deep dive. Some establishments were able to pay staff for a few weeks, some not at all. This has led to hundreds of displaced or furloughed employees most of which were employed from different countries. For many this meant that they were left with no choice but to leave the island and return to their home countries.
For me, I am thankful that I am able to work entirely from home. I have never worked from home prior to this and I actually enjoy working from home now. I developed a routine and stick to it. I am able to sleep a little bit longer on mornings with the elimination of travel to work. I then begin work promptly at 8.30 am just as I would in the office. I work until 12 when I break for my hour lunch and then get straight back to work until 5.00 pm. Even though I am working from home does not mean I will be working beyond working hours or less hours. I honestly believe that saying 'Give Caesar what is due onto Caesar'. A healthy work life balance is essential so promptly at 5:00 pm I shut down the computer and attend to my usual duties as a wife and student.
All of this is possible thanks to technology. I can conduct meetings online via zoom or other platforms. Have calls with my colleagues via WhatsApp or other calling platforms and operate just as if I had been sitting in the office. There are so many advantages to working from home which include, but are not limited to, employees having a great work life balance which ultimately leads to more happy and balanced employees, more efficiency, less overhead costs for the organisation since there will be no need to rent large buildings with multiple offices at exorbitant costs, the reduction of pollution since there will be less commuters on the nations roads. The main disadvantage I encountered during my work from home stint is that I saw an increase in my utility bill however, the trade off is well worth it.
I do hope that organisations use this as a learning experience and an opportunity to revisit current policies and do things differently. I do understand that not everyone can be afforded this luxury however, if we were to maximize on the amount of persons that can work from home efficiently it will greatly decrease some of the congestion in terms of traffic, parking, air pollution, the list goes on.
It will also be worthwhile to continue educating the population at large on using technology to their advantage for instance, I still see long lines at the banks. I'm certain that at least 80% of those transactions may be conducted online. There's so much different technology out there, we just need to put it to use.
As women, we can be a catalyst for change. As we face the world post covid 19, let us seek more innovative ways to do things differently. It's certainly okay to change the plan but keep the focus on the goal. It's a win win win situation.