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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - While many organisations are still taking the time to fully understand the impact of Covid-19 on their work models, experts are optimistic about the future of remote working.
Speaking to Al Khaleej Today, Benjamin Ampen, managing director, Mena region, Twitter, revealed that the company was one of the first to implement a work from home model in the face of Covid-19.
"Overall, working from home didn't change our day-to-day work," he said. "We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow employees to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven we can make that work. We have already announced that, if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen."
A decision like this, he said, allows team members to have the flexibility they need, allowing them to get their work done how and when it suits them.
"Although I'm confident that this is a direction many businesses will take in the long run, I also believe it will be heavily dependent on the sector, technology solutions available and type of work," he noted. "That being said, I still see a future that combines both working from home and from the office. At the end of the day, the office has a role to play when it comes to building culture, team bonding and providing an appropriate environment for individuals who may not be able to fully work from home."
Asked why he feels some business leaders are reluctant in having their employees work remotely, he answered that it might be due to a combination of a lack of experience and leadership in functioning in such an environment, a lack of trust in employees, a lack of infrastructure and technology in place enabling employees to be fully productive and engaged when working remotely, or the need to be physically present to interact with customers.
Highlighting some of the lessons he has learned during the pandemic, he said: "From a personal perspective, this time has confirmed two things for me. First, empathy is crucial both on a professional and personal level. In fact, one of the key principles that has guided our response at Twitter is to lead with empathy and flexibility. We introduced resources to help managers prioritize their own wellbeing while managing a team, foster deeper empathy between managers and their direct reports, and made room for employees to operate at reduced capacity when needed."
Secondly, he said that one should prioritize mental health over everything as this constitutes the foundation of physical health and strong decision-making. "As an organisation, we have increased our investments in further providing mental and physical health benefits at Twitter and explored ways to better support caregivers learning to navigate our new reality."
I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Al Khaleej Today. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.
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