African workers in need of extra Z's
Forty-two percent of workers across Africa report that they have to sacrifice sleep to fit in personal and work commitments, either by waking up too early or by burning the midnight oil, according to a survey by flexible-workplace provider Regus.
Although flexible working is highlighted as a way to reduce commuting, create more hours in the day for sleep or family life and to improve productivity and staff retention, only 58 percent of firms in Africa are rewarding management for encouraging the creation of a flexible workforce.
Workers have highlighted that a shorter commute (29 percent) and greater flexibility of location (25 percent) would give them more time to spend with their families, as well as to catch some extra shut-eye, but businesses can also benefit from introducing greater flexibility, which is reported to improve productivity (72 percent) and help retain staff (84 percent).
These are some of the key findings of the global survey by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, based on interviews with more than 24,000 business-people from over 90 countries. The international study includes East, West, North and South Africa.
“Lack of sleep is clearly detrimental to worker health and happiness with long working hours closely linked to heart disease,” said Joanne Bushell, Vice President Africa for Regus. “Respondents highlight that a shorter commute and more flexibility over work location would help them spend more time with their families, finally spelling an end to sleepless nights filled with catching up on work or personal tasks that couldn’t be squeezed into the day.”
Key Findings and Statistics
· Globally 29 percent of workers are sleeping less than they wish to fit all their commitments and in Africa 42 percent of workers are sacrificing sleep to fit in work and personal commitments, while 25 percent feel they have to overcompensate time taken off for personal matters
· Workers highlight a shorter commute (29 percent) and location flexibility (25 percent) as ways of helping them spend more time with their families
· Businesses can benefit too, as flexible work is thought to improve productivity (72 percent) and help staff retention (84 percent)
· Currently, management is being rewarded for encouraging a flexible work environment only in half (48 percent) of firms
Bushell continued: “This survey shows that allowing employees to work closer to home in professional and fully efficient environments can have an important impact on family life and provide workers with a few more minutes’ kip each morning.
“But the benefits are not just for workers; firms can also improve productivity and retention by introducing flexible working. Yet, in spite of the win-win benefits that flexible working can bring on both employee and company side, there is evidently still plenty of grounds for improvement as almost half of East African firms do not recognise or reward managers for encouraging the creation of a flexible workforce.”
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.