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Economic Crisis,High Transportation Cost , Explore The Role Of Telecommuting-Information Systems Expert



An Information Systems Expert, Mr. George Akom has advocated that, the current global economic crisis requires an innovative and creative governance in addition to any fiscal and economic policies being put in place to address this crisis by leveraging on information technology and e-government systems. He indicated that the adoption and implementation of information technology tools and e-government systems would provide some relief to some organizations, institutions both public and private, and their employees in the areas of cost cutting for efficient and effective operations. He continued that the global economic hardship triggered by high fuel increases, high utility tariffs, job losses, rising inflation and the rapid depreciation of major currencies have brought an untold hardship on many households across the world. This economic crisis which started from 2020 because of the outbreak of the COVID -19 has brought a decline in the growth of the global economies fiscal strength and continues to show downward economic trend of many countries, especially developing countries. The unexpected geo-political war between Russia and Ukraine has also exacerbated the poor economic conditions of many countries across the globe. Earlier predictions by the UN Report indicated that COVID -19 would push 130 million people into poverty by 2030 and other similar predictions pointed to the same poverty levels. It has become evidently clear from the Country Development and Climate Report by the World Bank that one million Ghanaians could fall into poverty. It also added that income levels could also be reduced to 40% for poor households by 2050. Due to the unabated economic crisis coupled with low standard of living among citizens, many counties are exploring various economic and fiscal policies and interventions to address the challenge in the short, medium and long term. One of the areas, aside high inflation and many other economic indicators which is affecting a lot of citizens in their daily activities is the cost of transportation to commute to and from their places to embark on economic activities. The rampant increase of fuel prices has brought about unregulated pricing of transport fares in the country which has been causing chaos among transport operators and passengers. Because of this situation, commuters and traders are also shifting the cost of this high transportation fares to consumers of products and services. These conditions are affecting the psychological and welfare of many workers which in the long run could affect their punctuality to work and productivity in organizations. As part of measures to support workers and reduce the burden of their hardships with regard to high transportation fares temporarily, Mr. George Akom opined that aside bonuses, allowances and salary advances to workers to support their living standard, many institutions, corporations and business entities could explore the potential benefits of information and communication technologies and information systems to provide alternatives for workers to perform their work duties remotely to save them from high transport fares. He emphasized that telecommuting is one of the means by which workers could work from home by the use of available information technology tools. Telecommuting is the ability for an employee to complete work assignments from outside the traditional workplace by using telecommunication tools such as email, phone, chat and video apps. The pervasive growth of the Internet, along with advancements in unified communications (UC), artificial intelligence and robotics has made it easier than ever for many work-related tasks to be performed outside the normal workplace. Knowledge workers are especially well-suited for working from home or other remote locations. Mr. Akom stressed that telecommuting provides mutual benefits to both the employer and the employee. With the employer, it always reduces operational cost in terms of the usage of electricity, water, floor cleaning and other human waste generated by the presence of the employees physically at the workplaces. On the side of the employee, with a more flexible schedule, and less workplace distractions and not having to deal with transportation, telecommuting workers get motivated and can be more productive than going to work with bad emotions and psychological mood. He admitted that although, not all workers depending on their duties could benefit from this approach viz-a- viz some organizations that do not have information technology resources and systems to implement telecommuting, but tapping into this to identify some organizations and their operations that could utilize the telecommuting to adopt and implement it to support workers at this difficult moment would be an added advantage to support workers from economic hardship and also save the organizations from high operational cost. .
Mr. George Akom who is a Senior Assistant Registrar at the Ghana Communication Technology University emphasized that telecommuting has been an area that many organizations, especially government institutions could adopt and implement to check for high work output due to numerous excuses for absenteeism by workers. The telecommuting would provide flexibility to workers and provide both synchronous and asynchronous services to workers and citizens or clients.

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