Oluwabunmi O. ADEJUMO
Institute for Entrepreneurship and Development Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
The lockdown policy implemented to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has altered working patterns, which has resulted in different effects across different professions and livelihoods especially in urban centers. For instance, in the teaching and research circle, adaptive strategies to what is described as a new normal, include remote learning and online teaching activities. This evolving approach within the academic community is not without its own outcomes. Therefore, this piece explores the positive and negative dimensions of working conditions in the ‘new normal’ for researchers/academics specifically in urban centers. This is with a view to rethinking the tedious work landscape of urban researchers and proffers policy directions on flexible work options for the future of work in urban centers.
A Brief Overview of the Urban Work Landscape in Nigeria
The report of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) captures the phenomenal growth of towns and cities in Nigeria (UNDESA, 2019)[i]. With a yearly growth rate of close to 3%, the infographics from Nigeria’s Urbanet reports that over a period of 8 years (that is between 2010 and 2018), the urban population of Nigeria grew approximately from 60 million to 300 million persons between 2010 and 2018[ii]. Owing to the perceived opportunities and infrastructural set-ups, the urban centers remain a standing option for migrant rural persons and new settlers. As a result of this, urban development and sustainability remains a major issue in the national development plan in Nigeria. Apart from the challenge that cities in Nigeria are evolving via no or non-conformity to preplanned or an organized blueprint as it were[iii], a number of studies have also highlighted the stressors in these urban areas to include heat from overpopulation and degradation activities, noise and air pollution from indoor cooking activities to industrial smoke and effluent discharge, congestion from vehicular activities and housing systems, as well as price hikes of food and other household products unplanned and that people in urban areas[iv].
Presently, the health shocks from the Coronavirus pandemic have resulted in an initial shut-down and more recently a slowdown in socio-economic activities, which ha
Rationale for Labour Strategies: The COVID-19 Pandemic Intermission
Just like there are two sides to a coin, the same can be attributed to the fallouts from the
While it is understood that a number of jobs in urban areas are not ICT-compliant or cannot be rendered without personal contacts (such as transport services, health care delivery, buying and selling of essential household goods etc), a number of some other jobs are ICT-compliant and have been realized in recent times to be work-from-home friendly (such as online banking activities, e-conferences and cloud meetings which are currently held through social networks, research and evolving online teaching activities, e-marketing, etc). Therefore, a positive labour spillover of government policies vis-à-vis the COVID-19 pandemic could occur when workers can retain and possibly improve their productivity and income as well as maximize leisure from the economic activities they can engage in by remotely working from home through online ICT options. Meanwhile, some negative labour spillovers from the government policy-pandemonium nexus could include job losses, reduction in income, labour somersaults and job transitions just to attain survival.
The literature on labour issues have shown that workers in urban centers are largely engaged by different work motives ranging from work flexibility and stability, job security, need for autonomy, personal desires of basic needs and wellbeing, self-fulfillments and societal commitments to reducing rural poverty (by remittances back to the countryside), unemployment, low paid jobs and dependency burden[vii]. Irrespective of the motive and agitations for labour supply, one prominent peculiarity for labour sustainability in urban centers that the C
Reflections from the Research Community in Nigeria: The COVID-19 Pandemic Intermission
The thoughts in this article simply reflect
In consonance with promoting flexible work systems the work-from-home order adopted by the Nigerian government, due to the COVID-19 intrusion, is to a large-extent ICT-compliant for urban researchers in Nigeria. Although some online activities have been on-going before the Covid-19 pandemic, these events have become more prominent with the intermission of the Pandemic. Table 1 presents an overview of research and teaching activities as well as some of spillovers (that is the pros and cons) of these adaptive approach
Going by the intermission of C
In all, the reflections so far suggest a pay-off and trade-off scenarios for the online work-from-home options for the research community in urban centers of Nigeria. However, further survey
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[iii] Wapwera, S. D. (2018). Non Implementation of the Greater Jos Urban Master Plan: Options and Strategies. Urban Studies and Public Administration 1(2), 263-290
[iv] Onibokun, A., & Faniran, A. (2013). Urban research in Nigeria. IFRA-Nigeria
[vii] See: Sapsford & Tzannatos, 1993; Van Wel & Knijn, 2007; Banks & Humphreys, 2008; Huang, Zhang & Xue, 2018
[viii] See: Aluko, 2000; Atubi, 2010; Agunloye, 2011; Ibitayo, 2012; Nwude, 2013
[ix] See: Askenazy, 2004; Wilthagen & Tros, 2004; Kramarz et al., 2008
No 3 - This blog article is written under the auspices of the British Academy supported Critical Thinking and Writing Workshop for Urban Studies Researchers in Nigeria.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development or the University of Lagos, Nigeria.