Kenya: Technology Saves the Day As Kenyan Firms Send Staff to Work From Home

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The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed life as we know it.

In Kenya, where the number of confirmed cases had reached 15 by the time of going to press, the government asked employers to allow staff to work from home.

In addition, all learning institutions have been shut down as students go online and to the radio for lessons and homework.

Remote interactions and e-commerce have emerged as valuable contingent options amid the pandemic, which is projected to cause one of the biggest economic recessions in recent times.

Microsoft announced that it is offering its Microsoft Teams collaboration platform, for free, to companies to make remote working possible.

Corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro said, "At Microsoft, our top concern is the well-being of our employees and supporting our customers in dealing with business impact during these challenging times. By making Teams available, we hope that we can support public health and safety by making remote work even easier."

Support for staff

In Kenya, Safaricom and Nation Media Group said they had acquired and were providing laptops, dongles and tech tools to their employees.

Safaricom said over 95 per cent of its workforce has been asked to work from home.

"We will be engaging collaboration tech tools such as Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Yammer & Cisco Jabber to enable teams that would ordinarily be required to work from a certain location to work remotely," the company's chief human resources officer, Paul Kasimu, said.

Safaricom also announced on Tuesday that it was doubling its internet speeds for home fibre packages at no extra cost.

Nation Media Group under the "Safe Nation" mantra, last week rolled out the business continuity plan for remote working protocols.

NMG systems administrator Sicily Rugendo, said, "We are connecting our teams to VPN, a vital tool for internet security, especially when you are working from home, which will allow secure remote access to corporate resources."

"We are enabling e-mail connectivity to different software systems, and giving them interactive tools like Skype-for-business, to enable people hold meetings remotely," Ms Rugendo added.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has launched an online directory for locally manufactured goods to help Kenyans shop online and have products delivered to their homes or shops.

"We are doing this to forestall disruptions in the market," said the association's chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga.

E-learning

The Ministry of Education assured parents and pupils of continuation of learning following the closure of schools.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development said it would deliver the curriculum through YouTube, the Kenya Education Cloud, radio and television starting Monday.

The ministry will broadcast programmes daily, from Monday to Friday, through Radio Taifa and English Service.

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