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Sunday, 12 July 2020

How Egypt’s businesses are adapting their remote work policies as the economy reopens

SURVEY- How businesses are shaping their remote work policies as the economy reopens. We surveyed EGX-listed companies, multinationals, and small businesses to get a feel of how the private sector plans to reshape their work from home policies in the coming weeks and months.

The short answer: It’s more complicated than back in March, when businesses were uniformly gearing up to shift employees to working from home. Today, execs have the benefit nearly four months of experience with the pandemic and are tailoring WFH policies that try to strike a balance between business continuity and the health of their workforce.

Of the 16 companies we surveyed, 11 are still relying almost entirely on remote work for anyone whose job could possibly be done from home. The majority of these businesses — including Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, UNDP, Orange, data analytics startup Arqam, and one of the country’s largest finance firms (which asked to remain unnamed) — have reopened their office space for employees who wish to work from there. These offices require a portion of their administrative and security staff to be present on-site. Some are also requiring top executives to work from the office, with the remainder of the staff permitted to work from home or on-site based on requests. Boutique business development firm Ahead of the Curve has not reopened its offices and its entire staff continues to work from home.

Another three have already moved to a rotating schedule, and two have fully returned to working from the office. Staff at Al Ismaelia Real Estate Development, for example, work three days per week in the office and the remaining two are used for remote work. Hassan Allam Properties has implemented a weekly rotation for its staff. Jude Benhalim — an upscale jewelry brand with a total of nine employees — returned to its office space two months ago with social distancing measures in place.

With the reopening of courts, law firms are taking a mixed approach. While Tamimi & Co fully reopened its offices with a slew of precautionary measures, Shahid Law currently has rotating shifts with a maximum capacity of 10% of employees. Youssef & Partners has reopened its offices but does not require its employees to work on-site. Adsero is flexible with where its employees work on a daily basis, but those who are required to attend court sessions are expected to comply with measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks.

None of the businesses we surveyed have clarity on when they’ll return to the office full time, but the majority of respondents have set a schedule to review their policies. Some said they review their policies as frequently as every two weeks, while others said that they will not be revisiting their remote work policy until September.


CORRECTION- 12 July 2020

An earlier version of this story incorrectly named Sharkawy & Sarhan among our survey respondents. The correct law firm is Shahid Law.

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