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Ola Haddad

Mena firms ‘flexible about working from home’

DUBAI, July 27, 2020

Seven out of 10 businesses in Mena who responded to a survey said that their company is flexible about working from home instead of returning to the workplace in the next few months, said Bayt.com, a leading job site in the Middle East.

Organizations across the Mena region have adapted their people management approaches over the past months – remote work, reductions in work hours and a change in recruitment policies are a few examples, said Bayt.com, which recently conducted a poll on the Role of HR During Covid-19 Pandemic in the Mena region.

How to adapt HR practices in times of Covid-19 is a dominant question for organizations across the region with great implications for employees and managers.

According to the respondents, main responsibilities of the HR department during a crisis should include: ensuring safety and security of the physical workspace (40%), securing alternative work arrangements such as remote work and flexible hours (35%), managing emergency response at all levels (11%), facilitating communication between teams and managers (8%) and advocating for employees’ wellbeing (4%).

Ola Haddad, Director of Human Resources at Bayt.com said: “Our new poll aims to explore how the Mena region's HR departments radically transformed practices to deal with the dynamic operating environment that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic. As the situation continues to develop and change, Bayt.com will continue to provide updated data, advice and guidance to support employers and professionals across the region.”

The survey underlines that HR practitioners can play a central role in supporting practices to improve business performance in times of a crisis – 70% of survey respondents agree that the HR department in their company is doing a good job in sharing updates on business performance during the Covid-19 crisis. Forty-two per cent of respondents would rate the performance of their HR department as excellent, 22% rate it as good and 12% rate it as average.

HR departments also play a key role in terms of supporting activities that help improve performance or foster collaboration and communication in times of remote work. In fact, 50% of survey respondents said that their HR department provided them with training on how to carry out their job remotely during Covid-19.

In the Mena region, 33% of survey respondents say that the HR department in their company conducted a survey or asked for employees’ opinion on returning to the workplace after Covid-19. More than half (51%) said that their company provided them with clear guidelines for safety and health in the workplace after Covid-19 to a great extent, and 23% said their company guided them to a certain extent.

Some Mena companies are going the extra mile, with 65% respondents saying that their HR department is doing a good job in dealing with employees’ non-work related stress, such as commuting and securing childcare.

Respondents also revealed key areas of improvement that could be addressed by the HR department whilst facing a crisis. They covered areas such as training and development (27%), communication with staff (19%), staff morale and wellbeing (18%), attendance policy (17%) and handling complaints and staff problems (14%).

Data from the survey helped to shed light on the decisions organizations took in times of Covid-19 and provided important knowledge for the future – 50% of respondents said that their company has an emergency plan should a new surge in Covid-19 cases occur and 75% said that their HR department has a clear plan to keep up with expected changes in the business world after Covid-19. – TradeArabia News Service




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