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Make that move…

Make that move...

When securities and intelligence agency, Salama Fikira decided to embrace a new flexible way of working that enabled team members to balance time at home with time in the office, they chose KOFISI after careful consideration of all serviced-office options in Nairobi.  KOFISI gave the team an Operations Centre and Private Office with additional co-working space when required. Managing Director, Dylan Evans explains why KOFISI came out top.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Sir Winston Churchill

COVID-19 has shaken the world… Nothing particularly cerebral there. There have however been revelations that I think will change the business world for the better. Here are my thoughts on one such example.

In March 2020 I made the decision to implement an enforced remote working programme at Salama Fikira Headquarters to assist with Coronavirus containment. After a short period of remote working, we recognised that the way the world works may have changed for good and the decision was made to prepare ourselves for the ‘new normal’ from a professional working perspective. I learned a lot of lessons over this time, the most fundamental is that remote working can work! With the implementation of new technology, alterations to our personal lives and an element of discipline, we can in-fact be more productive. The security and risk management industry has, in my mind, tendencies of being slightly backwards leaning when it comes to adapting to change from a business perspective.

With the knowledge gained from this experience, we made a plan to review, consult and design solutions for a better, more cost effective and productive solution for the future.

The first phase was to understand what the staff thought and felt about remote working, and to do this we conducted an online staff survey. The survey was made up of 8 questions designed to better understand what worked well, what worked not so well, and how employees saw their long term future of working for SF. I will share the results:

  • 85% of employees have been very happy or somewhat happy with the remote working programme.
  • No commute was sighted as the best thing about the change.
  • The biggest challenges faced by employees working from home was unreliable power and internet.
  • 50% of employees are working from a communal space such as the kitchen or sitting room in their residence.
  • 100% of employees would favour some form of remote working arrangement once the pandemic has passed.
  • 50% of employees may be interested in workspaces in other areas in Nairobi.
  • Increased productivity and better work/life balance were consistently sited as benefits of the programme.
  • Reduced camaraderie, and interaction with colleagues sited as downsides of programme.
  • 100% of employees stated that they would favour a remote work hybrid system allowing options to work from an office periodically and having meeting spaces in a professional environment.

The responses to the employee survey were clear. It was therefore decided that the Headquarters are best suited to adopt a flexible hybrid work arrangement, encouraging remote working under a clear policy but providing a co-working, private office combination for employees that prefer to work from a professional space from time-to-time.

We conducted a competitive tender process for office space and Kofisi Karen (https://kofisi.africa/) were the successful bidder (SLT voted 6:1 in favour). Kofisi are a serviced office, co-working space provider that are operational in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana.

Under the agreement with Kofisi, we have a private, well equipped operations centre (GSOC) and office with bookable meeting spaces for monthly all company gatherings and client meetings in locations in Nairobi. Additionally there is access to co-working spaces for all employees.

The Company now encourages all non-essential operational staff to work remotely as standard. Hearing the concerns some staff had regarding unreliable power and internet, we will all have access to the co-working and meeting space. Staff will be able to come to the office, plug in and work there whenever they want. Technology will be vital in ensuring we can access, collaborate and share work seamlessly.

To ensure we retain the fantastic culture of this great company, all staff will be expected to attend 1 full day together in the office every month. We will use this time to conduct Company-wide meetings, training, interest lectures, team building exercises and socialising. These will be mandatory and included in the Remote Working Policy and Procedure. It is vital to our cohesion and esprit de corps.

It is early stages, however, I am confident that this move will be a positive one.

Source: Dylan Evans, Managing Director Salma Fikria