A senior lecturer at the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Dr. Frederick Doe is advocating the adoption of flextime and work rotation as a cogent response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has revolutionised the working life of employees.
Dr Doe believes the new working arrangements will provide the opportunity for more work-life balance, reduce waste in productivity hours and increase employment opportunities.
Writing in the Business and Financial Times, Dr Doe also opined that flexitime will increase the chance for Ghanaians to engage in more sporting and physical exercises to improve their health.
The flextime system allows employees to choose their own times for starting and finishing work within a broad range of available hours.
Dr Doe, who is also the Acting Director in charge of professional programmes at UPSA says the nation stands to benefit economically if employers took a cue from countries like UK, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, where flexitime is actively being encouraged.
“Currently our work schedule, (i.e. everyone going to work from Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm) has negative effects on our economy and lives,” he wrote. “The single shift of 8 am-5 pm with everyone going to work at the same time means more demand for fuel, more cars on the road and greater traffic congestion besides the negative effects it has on health and healthcare costs.”
Flextime and work rotation
Dr Doe further averred that whilst the flexitime concept has largely transformed the economies of many Western nations, it regrettably remains a mere theory in most parts of Africa.
He wrote: “we can have flex-time work arrangement in Ghana and still be able to go on with work and life. There are many benefits that as a country we can gain from adopting flexitime and/or multiple work schedules.”
“We can reduce the cost of setting up an office- building or renting a premise, purchasing furniture, air-conditions and other requirements. This can significantly impact on the cost of doing business positively,” he believes.
He adds: “Secondly, cost of setting up an office can be diverted into hiring more staff thus reducing unemployment (cumulatively). With a few ‘essential’ staff manning the office effectively, more staff can be employed to beef up production and service delivery.
Thirdly, the adoption and dependence on technology will significantly increase our deployment of technology and foster more ‘technopreneurship’. The world is moving more and more towards advanced technology adoption and AI and Africa needs not lag behind.
Fourthly, less cars on the road mean, less air pollution. Environmental reports of the effects of COVID-19 indicate that the lockdown has reduced emissions by a great degree resulting in less pollution during the period.”