The impact of coronavirus on technology has been massive so far. It is beyond doubt that coronavirus is now a global pandemic with thousands of death and infection cases since its outbreak in Wuhan, China, in 2019.
Since recording the first case of coronavirus in Nigeria, there have been fears over the unfavorable consequences of the pandemic. With most Nigerian businesses now experiencing sales decline due to the partial lockdown across the country, the spread of coronavirus has dealt a major blow to the leading tech companies in Nigeria.
Besides impeding the inter-state transit of tech commodities, coronavirus has brought about a major change in the operational structures of Nigeria’s leading tech companies.
How Is Coronavirus Affecting Nigeria’s Major Tech Outfits?
Coronavirus in Nigeria has compelled some of Nigeria’s leading tech companies to change their modes of operation. For instance, MTN Nigeria, the leading telecom company in the country, sent an e-mail notification detailing that it was no longer holding physical meetings with customers at its network division office.
MTN notified contractor companies that instead of conducting physical meetings, important communications would be done via its electronic media, hence encouraging visitors to channel their complaints and responses to the company via teleconferencing and video calls.
Nigeria’s major tech companies have a considerable number of business buildings in Lagos and upon the announcement of corona outbreak in Nigeria early March, many of these companies swung into action through a change in mode of operation, cancellation of business trips and execution of health measures.
In the area of health measures, major tech outfits including Softcom, Tek Experts, Konga, Zinox and Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), have required their staff to comply with health practices intended to contain the outbreak. For instance, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), a major provider of ICT solutions, began routine environmental sanitation and pre-work temperature check for every staff member on a daily basis. In place of face-to-face meetings, e-meetings have been suggested for its customer attendants to address visitors while its business trips to certain foreign countries have been suspended.
Similarly, Konga and Zinox, two of major e-commerce online shopping outfits, have also implemented the safety measure of suspending business trips to high-risk countries. Earlier bfore now, Google Launched Coronavirus Website and Expands COVID-19 Search Experience.
The fast pace at which coronavirus is spreading in Nigeria has compelled major telecom companies to incorporate “intensified communications” in their daily broadcasts. Meanwhile, these intensified communications have cast around the hygienic practices that can help both their staff and customers prevent coronavirus infection. Tek Expert, a Nigeria-based Microsoft partner as well as IT support company, has provided people with infographics to sensitize them about the preventive measures for the virus.
Similarly, Softcom, a tech company concerned with software engineering, has remained vibrant in communicating awareness of the virus and educating people about the necessary measures for staying safe.
With health experts recommending social distancing as an effective way of containing the spread of coronavirus, tech companies in Nigeria are now constraining the population across their business buildings. Likewise, some of them have worked out ways of maintaining safe distances between customers and surfaces across their business units. For instance, Carbon, a tech company concerned with digital lending, has implemented measures limiting contact with office surfaces. A representative of the company declared that the biometric data collection process required for entry to the business building had “been replaced with a card access method”.
The Work-from-home Policy
It is no longer news that Nigeria has recorded over 80 cases of confirmed coronavirus infection since the country’s first case of the epidemic. To prevent the spread from worsening, many Nigerian businesses, including some tech companies, have encouraged the idea of working from home. Chams, a major tech outfit, has declared its capability of providing its staff with the requirements for working remotely.
Tech companies in Nigeria are increasingly demanding that their staff operate from remote locations although some of these companies are hesitant to fully support the idea due to the nature of their services. Zinox and Konga claim their workers need to be present at sites of operation and in offices while CWG has urged its workers with symptoms of flu to operate from their homes.
The Bottom Line
The continual spread of coronavirus in Nigeria has undoubtedly taken a great toll on businesses without the exception of tech companies. The Nigerian government’s enforcement of a sit-at-home on citizens has significantly affected the turnout of customers at the business locations of tech companies. Consequently, these companies are experiencing significant sales decline, hence affecting their revenues as well as the overall market share of the tech industry.
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