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Special Focus: Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Tech Companies

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Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Tech Companies

It is no longer news that COVID-19 as a harsh reality has now impacted people in various aspects of their lives.

The continuous spread of the novel virus has dramatically changed the way society and indeed business is being run.

Everywhere you turn, one would see businesses, organizations and even society itself struggling hard to adjust to the harsh realities of this scourge.

In the global marketplace, COVID-19 has changed everything from the way we buy and sell, the way we hold meetings, the way work is done, and even the way that brands are perceived.

In Nigeria, many businesses were brought to a halt by the federal-government-instituted lockdown in three of the nation’s most viable economic centres; Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

Businesses have had to adapt their model of operations to survive during these trying times.

For us, we are more concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic affects tech companies, and how they have reacted to the effects of the COVID-19 quagmire.

Understandably, some experts believe that the COVID-19 epidemic might have changed how work is done in Nigeria while others believe that the Nigerian reality is different from any other parts of the world and that the West African nation will fall back to status quo as soon as the lockdowns are totally eased.

How Will COVID-19 Affect Work Moving forward?

Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Tech Companies

A remote customer care professional. Image used courtesy Forbes.com

 

One of the most important things to note is that COVID-19 has already changed how people in Nigeria now work.

Most notable, is the embrace of remote work and virtual meetings to help keep organisations working during this time.

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However, the question on many minds is if this trend will keep flourishing long after the COVID-19 debacle is resolved or if organizations will reverse to office work and face-to-face meetings.

A Business Development and Management Consultant, Uruemurie Ewoma Frank, has this to say, “It’s no longer news that this pandemic has and is affecting economies globally, it’s basically redefining the way we do work, live and play. What do I think would happen going forward?”

“Two things Will basically change or “profit” from this shake up. There will be a shift towards localization and the Tech world will get a push.”

 

“Remote work has always been a thing for techies with up work, fiver and the likes but generally, companies have been pushed to go remote and their employees are now working from home.”

“Even though these trends were already in-motion, the current situation has basically hit the fast-forward button. Even the most traditional organisations have had to experiment with digital channel;”

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“This gives us the opportunity to drive home the efficiencies of digital media. this Pandemic has also pointed out the importance of investing in enabling technologies like cloud, data and cyber security.”

“As much as we want to return to the world as we know it, we are now presented with a new normal and This has changed the way we work with far reaching implications on all fronts.”

Hrexecutive.com, quoting data from a research firm; the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), in which 27 employers were surveyed to find out if companies were considering  remote work as a permanent option, states that the research found that more than half of the 27 employers surveyed plan to either increase or expand flexible work arrangements on a permanent basis after the containment of the COVID-19 outbreak. 15% of those surveyed elected that they will not revisit remote work options after the containment of COVID-19.

Debo Adebayo, a management consultant speaking with Thisday‘sEhi Braimah, said, “Remote learning and working will become our new reality from the lock down experience. As a way of reducing cost, most organisations will encourage remote working.”

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Also, a Human Resources Consultant Adeniyi Adeleye, said, “ COVID-19 has changed the face of work going forward. Going back to work, the workplace can never be the same again because over this period, a lot of things have been tried. Virtual working has been tried, and to most people it has been a success. If you look at what is going on now, you will discover that many people that have the capacity of working from home, are working from home and achieving results.”

“Although, the industry that people work in is also a huge consideration when we talk about remote work. People in the FMCG industry for instance, cannot work from home, they have to be at the workplace because of the nature of their jobs. People in other sectors like investment, human resources,  consulting, general financial services, communication, ICT  and digital marketers can actually work from home.”

“So going forward,, when the COVID-19 menace is contained, you will see a trend of people working from home more often. There have been various talks about the Nigerian  Labour Cycle trying to see how people can work from home for a day or two out of the whole week, but organizations have been hesitant to embrace that prior to the COVID-19 debacle, but with the advent of COVID-19, I think a lot of companies are going to adapt.”

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“I have heard several HR Managers saying that this will work, so, in that aspect, the workplace is no longer going to be the same.”

“Also, talking about human capital development, we know that by now, most workers need to upgrade their skill set. There is going to be a major shift in skill upgrade. People are going to acquire skills that enable them work online. People are going to acquire global skills because global skills are now needed.”

“So in terms of skills, people are going to unlearn, people are going to relearn; acquiring new skills.” He concluded.

From the above submission, one thing is clear, many companies might go back to the office after the virus is contained, but working will never remain the same again in the sense of what is obtainable.

 

How Has COVID-19 Affected Companies Specifically?

Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Tech Companies

Colleagues holding a meeting with tech. Image credit: Shutterstock.com

 

In terms of how the COVID-19 has affected organizations, we are going to be looking specifically at how COVID-19 has affected tech companies as you can see from the title, but you can be assured that their experiences are quite true for many other companies in Nigeria during this period.

While some organizations have seen a monumental change in their business processes, others have said that their processes remain the same. What is true, however, is that people have made little changes to operate during this period.

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Lukmon Oloyede, the Head of Corporate Communications at Zedvance; a consumer finance company that utilizes tech for credit and loan services, noted that the lockdown has not really affected the company’s operations.

He says “As a new-age financial services provider, we have digital lending channels for our customers and prospects pre-COVID19. The lockdown did not really affect our business beyond the fact that we experience a bit of repayment delay – some customers had to pay directly to our bank account.”

“Our customers can access up to N5million via our self-service channels *5105#; our website: www.zedvance.com, by chatting with Zee via WhatsApp 090 600 039 33 or through our mobile app, MoneyPal. We also provide support via our customer service line 07001001000 within 9-4pm during week days to ensure that we serve our customers during this crucial time.

The CEO of ScribeText, an audio and video transcription company, Damilare Ogundahunsi,, said that the organization has had to revamp its operations as a direct response to COVID-19.

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He said, “ScribeText provides audio & video transcription solutions for large organizations and creative professionals. We’ve had to revamp our pricing plans, in response to COVID 19, to help clients carry out the essential task of transcription at rates commensurate to their revised budgets”.

In his own response, a serial entrepreneur, Paul Akinola, who has built many businesses with the power of Web 2.0 and a current business coach who teaches entrepreneurs how to utilize tech for building businesses, said that the lockdown period in Nigeria has been very positive for his organization paulakinola.com

Paul says, “COVID-19 has been of help to me. In the sense that I help entrepreneurs to grow their business, and many entrepreneurs have been very busy- sometimes busy and not productive but COVID-19 has forced everybody to stay indoors and brought many entrepreneurs to their knees where they have had to stop and think.”

“With that being the case, many entrepreneurs were able to listen to me as a coach and consultant. In the month of April, I ran a live session on Facebook everyday and at our highest point we had a thousand people tuning in every night without us committing advertising money to the project. And that was very consistent; our minimum number of attendees during that period was 500 people in a night.”

“So, COVID-19 has been helpful in that sense. From our analytics we saw that we have been able to train over 5,000 unique entrepreneurs during this period, So to me it was a time for entrepreneurs to sit back and think and thus it offered me the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs. “

“And although we were not making much money from the trainings, our goal of training a lot of entrepreneurs was achieved. Having run several businesses myself, I know how business run; what will work and what will not work and that knowledge is what I passed across to a lot of entrepreneurs.”

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“With many of the entrepreneurs returning following the easing of lockdown across the country, I think they are better equipped to run their businesses,” Paul concluded.

From their responses, it is quite easy to see that every business has made a change. Be it in pricing structure, assessment technology or even their training systems, businesses have made changes. Whether or not they will keep these changes post-COVID-19 depends on the results they get.

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