The past few weeks have no doubt been challenging for corporate persons and business establishments, as Coronavirus bites harder on a global scale. Many are being forced to engage in work-from-home situations, as business centres and companies have shut their doors to customers in the bid to help authorities curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As at Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Microsoft Teams’ number of daily active users increased to 44 million, compared to the 20 million active users it had in November last year (2019).
Similarly, Slack added 7,000 customers between Sunday, February 1, and March 18, 2020, compared to 5,000 new customers it added in its 2019 Q1.
Company management teams and their employees across the world, are now settling for Microsoft Teams and Slack, as social distancing becomes needful to control the spread of the infectious disease.
In terms of data usage, telecom operators are also making a killing, as people consume more data when working remotely than when working with wifi in the office.
The work-from-home arrangement, which is particularly for employees whose work can be done remotely, has contributed to the stiff competition between Microsoft Teams and Slack. This is as both digital platforms jostle to gain admirable market share while amassing more users from workplaces across all industries.
Coronavirus and remote working
Despite the widely-accepted belief that physical presence in a work station is paramount to the survival of a business, companies and business owners have been left with no choice but to allow their staff members operate remotely.
As businesses are moving their offices online, it may not be erroneous to assert that the work-from-home policy is one of the upshots of COVID-19 on the society at large.
While uncertainty surrounds the lifespan of the disease spread, in Nigeria, for example, some companies that are yet to ask their employees to work remotely, have been called out on social media. One of these companies is the media company, Opera.
A Twitter user, @Zeekahthegreat, on Saturday, March 21, called out Opera Nigeria, accusing the management of the company of failing to allow their staff members operate remotely, in spite of the severity of coronavirus.
Her tweets read partly, “They have over 400 customer care staff including foreign Chinese nationals all choked up together working in a hall all at a time. The FG has placed a ban on large gatherings, so why is the government not looking into companies like this and their work conditions.
“I am concerned especially for my younger sister who works here. My mom suffered to raise 3 kids on her own without help from anyone, she is not about to lose a child. They are not being checked at the entry point every morning, the entire staff share just 5 female restrooms, and 3 for the males.
“I need for us to tag the necessary authorities to have the OPay team let their staff work from home till this whole Coronavirus thing blows away. Money will never be more important than life.”
This social media user’s plight is the case of other Nigerians, who have expressed concerns directly and indirectly, on the need for companies and employers to embark on remote operations. Thus, for companies where remote work is possible, communications, social events, conferences, and meetings, will now be via either Microsoft Teams or Slack.
Telecom providers such as MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile are likely to increase the costs of their data, as many companies and self-employed individuals have proceeded to observe the sit-at-home policy.
It is common knowledge that the internet is basic for this policy to thrive amid the COVID-19 spread, which is gradually crippling the Nigerian economy. Without the internet, workflow is expected to be disruptive, which will pose serious threats to business entities in any given context.
Just like Economics asserts, when demand is high, surge is imminent. This assertion has become imperative for acknowledgement, as data usage among telecommunication consumers keeps increasing.
Meanwhile, telcos under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) had earlier disclosed that they had held meetings with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the federal and state governments.
The meeting, according to ALTON, was to discuss how best to ensure hitch-free telecoms services for internet users, at least, till the infectious disease spread becomes a thing of the past.