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The impact of remote working in Engen Petroleum Limited, South Africa, emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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2022

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Abstract

This study examines the impact of remote working during the COVID 19 pandemic on employee retention and work-life balance at Engen Petroleum Limited South Africa. South Africa had the most reported cases in Africa resulting in the South African government declaring one of the strictest lockdowns in the world on 23 March 2020. Developments in cloud technology and globalisation have given rise to new flexible work arrangements known as remote working which became prevalent in many organizations, allowing employees to perform work away from the traditional office environment. Due to a lack of stable internet connectivity in some areas in South Africa, remote working was a challenge. Only 53 per cent of South African’s use the internet and people with the least connectivity live in poorer rural areas. To prevent the spread of the virus, many organizations implemented remote working. The advent of remote working in South Africa seriously impacted the informal sector of the economy. The study adopted a quantitative approach. Data was collected via an online survey that was distributed to employees of Engen Petroleum Limited South Africa that were working remotely. A total of 67 respondents were received from various departments within the organization. The data was analysed using statistical software to test the impact of remote working on the constructs of employee retention, work-life balance, productivity and job satisfaction. The study found that remote working had an overall positive impact on employee retention, work-life balance and job satisfaction with productivity either increasing or remaining unchanged. Management needs to invest in a substitute for “water cooler conversations” and similar social interactions that are lacking in the remote working environment. The study recommends that the building of trust between managers and employees will assist in determining the effectiveness of remote working. The manager team need to explore innovative ways of improving communication that will ensure that remote workers are included in the activities of the organization. The organization needs to have an awareness of the setup that remote workers have at their homes to provide the required human resource support.

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Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.

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