Jamaica – President of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation, Wayne Chen, is calling for local employers to embrace flexible and remote work in order to become more productive and globally competitive, and to design a system to measure employee output when they operate outside of the workplace.
“We have a psychological hang-up in Jamaica about control, so that change in mindset will have to take place before we can get the full benefits of any change in legislation and regulation to flexible working arrangements,” he pointed out.
Mr. Chen, who was participating in a virtual panel discussion recently, noted that although the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced businesses to employ remote work, many still have not embraced the opportunities created by the new normal, and are fixated on getting employees back into the workplace or office.
Their primary concern, he said, is related to the productivity of workers while they operate from home, and is recommending that businesses implement systems to measure output.
“There are progressive companies that quickly embraced remote work, but for every story like that we have the story where the head of a department or a chief executive officer asks for all the workers to come back out as soon as the Government eases the COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr. Chen noted.
“And the answer is that many managers have still not yet put in place a system where they can actually measure output. We have really wasted, in many instances, a year because without the measurement, they are not confident it (work) is done,” he pointed out.
Mr. Chen noted that on the other hand, many employees, particularly mothers, have come to appreciate working from home over the past year.
“Workers, especially working mothers having been faced with [their children’s online schooling), appreciate not having to sit in traffic, sit in a bus or car to get to work in the mornings and then in the evenings,” he pointed out.
“So the fact is, changing the mindset of workers is perhaps easier than changing the mindset of employers,” he said.