The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to deal with several unanticipated challenges and although vaccines are now available, companies will continue to face disruptions brought about by these sorts of uncertainties. Organisations should take these challenges in stride and arm themselves with possible solutions like the ones suggested below.
Supporting remote work
The year 2020 saw a major shift to remote work as governments called on companies to have as few people as possible working onsite. With the need for social distancing still being upheld, remote working remains the way to go for most businesses. In this case, companies will have to deal with challenges that come with supporting their workers to work effectively from home.
For starters, companies will have to continually equip their remote workforce with the right online tools for collaboration and communication. They also have to successfully support the coaching and training of their remote workers. Most importantly, managers have to ensure that people working from home remain engaged and motivated to continually remain productive throughout the year. Furthermore, using VPNs is ideal for remote employees to log in to the office network from anywhere. Those who learn more about VPNs will realize how useful and practical they can be.
As Ben Richardson of Development Academy said “Managing people well if they are remote is different from managing people in the office. It requires a different communication approach as you don’t receive in-person cues that you do when you are in the office with them.”
Promoting a healthy mindset at work
As COVID 19 continues to infect and affect people globally, there is so much anxiety, fear, and hopelessness among people. To add to this, employees working from home are not only under pressure to perform their roles effectively but the very fact of working in isolation is also taking a toll on many of them. This is why companies need to be proactive in handling their remote teams’ psychological health.
Besides providing online collaboration and communication tools, there is also a need to ensure that teams use them. Managers have the task of promoting virtual meetings and happy hours among their remote teams. Also, they need to focus on employees’ strengths rather than weaknesses as well as offer continuous feedback. They could also recommend assertiveness training workshops that could help with the workers’ motivation and productivity.
Moreover, given that managers cannot pour out from an empty cup, they will need to achieve some kind of emotional stability to be able to help their staff. To do this, they will need to schedule a time for self-care focused on maintaining stable mental health.
Customers’ virtual interactions
With the call to avoid crowded places and stay at home, most people are preferring to conduct their purchasing online. Companies that are focused on keeping their customers are turning to online platforms to ensure that customer engagement continues virtually. The good thing about having an online presence is that companies are now able to expose their offering to a diverse global market. The challenge, however, comes with successfully conveying the brand message in a language that all potential customers can understand.
To cross this hurdle, companies can partner with reputable translation firms offering reliable translation services to ensure that their websites and online pages are translated professionally. These service providers will ensure that the content companies share with their customers is in the language that they understand to enable them to make informed choices.
Rebuilding customer relationships
The COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses in various ways, particularly in the area of customer relationships. Customer loyalty and faith in business is much lower than it was before the pandemic. If businesses are to restore their customers’ faith in what they offer, those relationships that were affected by the pandemic need to be redeveloped and revitalized in 2021.
One way to achieve this is to have more giveaways for the customers. Besides, companies can use the opportunity to offer credible information about their business, or the pandemic to their customers. Information regarding the pandemic is everywhere, with most of it being misleading. Customers will appreciate receiving valid and credible information from a source that they trust. Companies can also use their customers’ data to know what the customers need and expect from them. This way, they can create more personalized messaging and ads that can further strengthen the bond.
Companies will have the opportunity to breathe easy once the pandemic is gone and forgotten. But until then, even with a vaccine available to the public, some problems will linger much longer. This article highlights a few of them. Companies, therefore, have a mandate to stay prepared for any unexpected happenings.
CBN vs Cryptocurrency; the gold rush, time for a change?
Despite the CBN’s concern about Cryptocurrency in Nigeria, the cryptocurrency space has continued to roll out ingenious solutions to real-world problems.
Despite the Central Bank of Nigeria expressing its concern about Cryptocurrency in Nigeria, the cryptocurrency space has continued to roll out ingenious solutions to real-world problems. One of the most recent solutions is the advent of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), a unit of data stored on a blockchain to certify that a digital asset is unique and non-interchangeable. It is an innovation that allows that an artist gets digitized title/ownership for their work.
Based on a report from Coinbase yesterday, NFTs’ adoption is fast growing among Nigerian creatives, given that it provides a marketplace for creatives and art collectors across the globe. Although currently, the platform has recorded complaints from some artists whose artworks were minted without their consent, the platform’s potential market for African creatives is undeniably massive.
Over time, the Nigerian creative industry has been quiet due to perennial problems such as inadequacy of patronage and piracy, which disincentivizes players in the space. This problem, coupled with the apparent low interest in other economic segments, led to Nigeria’s current overdependence on oil receipt. Most creative deals in the Nigerian NFT space are currently being consummated anonymously.
Furthermore, Nigeria being the second largest market for cryptocurrencies globally over the last five years, with a market worth of trade totalling 60,215BTC, portends an interesting figure when the segments’ potential proceeds are considered.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria has an unemployment rate of 33.3% as of Q4 2020. There is also the recent prohibition of local banks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions. As an offshoot, the NFT’s ability to provide support to the economy in the area of rightly engaging creatives and other providers of ancillary services in the segment could be frustrated.
There are also indications that Nigeria might be setting itself up to miss out on an otherwise potent foreign exchange source. In an era where oil receipt is becoming increasingly unreliable, avenues like this could provide a decent level of support given Nigerians’ tenacity and creativity, hence drawing more accretion to its external reserves.
It is undeniable that Cryptocurrency poses some downside concerns in how it could easily aid some undesirable ventures, such as money laundering and terrorism financing. Nonetheless, we noted that Authority’s efforts should be geared more towards finding common ground where those concerns could be mitigated instead of shutting down the entire space.
Noteworthy is that the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies have continued unabated since the last CBN’s directives were issued. Is it time to retract those directives and find a more effective way of combatting cryptocurrency concerns? Yes! However, we opine that as we advance, every move should be tailored to ensure Nigeria is not blindsided in this gold rush.
CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
SEC and the proliferation of unregistered investment platforms
The recent move has generated diverse views from stakeholders with some critics classifying this action as irrational.
According to a circular issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it affirmed its knowledge of the existence of trading platforms that allow investors access to securities listed in other jurisdictions.
The capital market regulator further reiterated the provisions of sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations which state that only foreign securities listed on any exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription through approved channels to the Nigerian public.
The announcement furthers SEC’s quest to strengthen investor protection, promote transparency in the operations of the Nigerian capital market and ensure all investment transactions are within the regulatory purview of the commission.
Recently, the capital market regulator introduced a new requirement for the inclusion of the commission’s contact details in all prospectuses or offer documents issued to the general public in a bid to ascertain the genuineness of such securities. Besides, it is often found that the activities of illegal fund managers become prevalent during a financial or economic downturn, making the public susceptible to the juicy yet unsustainable returns promised by these managers.
The recent move has generated diverse views from stakeholders with some critics classifying this action as irrational. They cited the impact of investing in foreign stocks on portfolio diversification and the role of Fintechs in driving financial inclusion among others. On the other hand, supporters of this action argued for the need to reduce the pressure on external reserves especially at a time when the green-back is needed to stimulate economic recovery.
Also, that it helps to safeguard the country’s investing community. We recall that the recent policy by the CBN to close all accounts by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) involved in dealing with cryptocurrencies received a lot of backlash from the public.
On this move, however, we opine that it is still within the legal purview of the SEC to discourage investments in foreign listed securities. Nonetheless, we are aware of the concept of globalization in commerce and thus, there might be a need for a rejig of the Investment and Securities Act 2007, and other related acts to capture current trends and developments in the investment globe.
To avoid backlash going forward, we suggest more public education for clarity with regards to future policy decisions.
CSL Stockbrokers Limited, Lagos (CSLS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of FCMB Group Plc and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. CSLS is a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Nigerian Breweries publishes names of over 100,000 shareholders who are yet to claim their dividends.
- 2020 FY Results: Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc records a 37% increase in profit after tax.
- CSCS Plc posts profit after tax of N6.93 billion in FY 2020
- BUA Cement Plc announces Board Meeting
- Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc records a 60% increase in profit after tax in Q1 2021.