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ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF REMOTE WORK ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE IN COMMUNICATION FIRMS IN CAMEROON

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ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF REMOTE WORK ON EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE IN COMMUNICATION FIRMS IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

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Amid the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses globally began devising new strategies to address workforce crises, (Winkelmann et al. ,2022). Information and communication technologies (ICT) emerged as a beacon of hope, facilitating the return of employees to offices (Pennington et al., 2022). The true potential of communication technology came to the fore during the pandemic, enabling virtual work environments, remote decision-making, seamless educational delivery by professors, and remote consultations for patients, as highlighted by Barhate et al. (2022) and Kita et al. (2022). Particularly, the proliferation of online meetings, facilitated by video conferencing, played a pivotal role, stimulating growth in ICT industries and the introduction of novel applications catering to remote work setups. 

Terms such as "work from home," "telework," and "remote work" gained traction, becoming commonplace parlance in industrial and workspace settings alike. Historically, companies of firms embracing remote work initiatives have experienced significant advantages. The adoption of remote work practices leads to savings in time and financial resources for companies. This approach is also appealing to employees as it affords them flexibility, promoting a healthier work-life equilibrium and reducing commuting expenses. Furthermore, remote work encourages self-discipline among employees, particularly when working with minimal supervision. However, the implementation of remote work policies by organizations has encountered challenges, primarily stemming from inadequate technological infrastructure. Additionally, remote work necessitates reliable internet access, which is not universally available to all employees at home. Concerns also arise regarding the suitability of the remote work environment, potentially hindering employee performance. 

Employers have raised issues about the perceived decline in work quality when employees work remotely, attributing it to reduced supervision. The concept of remote work is not entirely new; however, its widespread acceptance and adoption have intensified research interest in its impact on various aspects of organizational functioning. Traditionally, the evaluation of employee performance relied heavily on observable metrics such as attendance, punctuality, and output volume. However, several factors influence the relationship between remote work and employee performance. Technology plays a pivotal role, enabling seamless communication, collaboration, and task management across geographically dispersed teams. The availability and effectiveness of communication tools, project management software, and virtual meeting platforms shape the remote work experience and subsequently impact employee performance (Abarca et al., 2020).

Moreover, individual characteristics and preferences influence how employees respond to remote work arrangements. Factors such as personality traits, work autonomy, and the presence of a conducive home environment can either enhance or hinder employee performance in remote settings. According to Bilotta et al (2021) organizational culture, leadership practices, and management strategies play crucial roles in shaping employee attitudes towards remote work and their subsequent performance outcomes. However, some studies indicate a positive relationship between remote work and performance, citing increased job satisfaction, reduced distractions, and improved work-life balance as contributing factors. Conversely, other research suggests challenges associated with remote work, such as feelings of isolation, difficulties in communication, and blurred boundaries between work and personal life, which may negatively affect performance. Nevertheless, research examining the impact of remote work on employee performance during the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, with limited literature available to ascertain its effects conclusively. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to assess the impact of remote work on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In light of the increasing prevalence of remote work and the limitations on in-person interactions imposed by global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations face significant challenges in maintaining effective decision-making processes and fostering trust, clarity, and collaboration among stakeholders and internal team members. Similarly, the landscape of business interactions has undergone significant transformation in recent years, with the increasing adoption of videoconferencing and remote work practices. Despite these advancements, many critical discussions and interactions within businesses continue to be predominantly conducted in person (Lexology, 2020). The inherent trust and clarity essential for effective exchange of ideas, sharing of information, and monitoring of obligations are often best established and maintained face-to-face. Furthermore, the inability to convene external and internal stakeholders in person for the foreseeable future adds further complexity to decision-making processes and increases the potential for conflict (World Health Organization, 2020c; Messenger, 2019).

In the current environment, communication firm faces a significant challenge in how executives can practically engage in important decision-making processes with stakeholders and internal team members in ways that enhance trust, clarity, and collaboration. The dilemma also presents a significant opportunity to reconsider how decision-making is distributed and managed locally and globally. Additionally, working remotely can also provide difficulties that could have an adverse impact on workers' productivity. For instance, some employees can find it difficult to communicate with one another in person and feel cut off from their coworkers and the corporate culture. Performance may suffer as a result of these emotions of loneliness and decreased motivation. The blending of personal and professional lives is another possible drawback to working remotely. Without the physical barrier of a workplace, employees could find it difficult to shut off from work and might experience pressure to be present all the time. Over time, this may result in burnout and an overall decrease in performance.Thus, it is in the light of these that the study seeks to assess the impact of remote work on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to assess the impact of remote work on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon. Specifically, the study will;

Examine the level of adoption of remote work policies in communication firms in Cameroon.

Assess the perceived benefits and challenges associated with remote work among employees in communication firms.

Investigate the impact of remote work on employee productivity in communication firms in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

What is the extent of adoption of remote work policies in communication firms in Cameroon?

What are the perceived benefits and challenges associated with remote work among employees in communication firms?

How does remote work impact employee productivity in communication firms in Cameroon?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho: Remote work has no significant impact on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon.

Ha: Remote work has a significant impact on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This research is important given the worldwide trend towards remote work, especially in the communication industry. By investigating how remote work affects employee performance in Cameroonian communication firms, this study aims to reveal the advantages, drawbacks, and recommended approaches of remote work in a developing nation setting. Furthermore, the results will guide companies in shaping their policies and procedures, enabling them to enhance remote work setups for better employee productivity, satisfaction, and organizational performance. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to the impact of remote work on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is to assess the impact of remote work on employee performance in communication firms in Cameroon. Empirically, this study will examine the level of adoption of remote work policies in communication firms in Cameroon, assess the perceived benefits and challenges associated with remote work among employees in communication firms and investigate the impact of remote work on employee productivity in communication firms in Cameroon.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to residents of Douala, Cameroon

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed. 

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Remote: In general, "remote" refers to something that is situated far away or distant in space.

Remote work: also known as telecommuting or telework, is a work arrangement where employees do not commute to a central place of work, such as an office building.

Employee performance: refers to the level of productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency with which an employee completes their job responsibilities, as well as their overall contribution to the organization's goals and objectives (Koopmans et al., 2021).

COVID-19 : The pandemic is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It first emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since spread globally, leading to a pandemic. COVID-19 primarily spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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  • Methodology: Yes available


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