Title: Remote working challenges and solutions: insights from SMEs in Bangladesh during the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors: Md Asadul Islam; Paul Agu Igwe; Mahfuzur Rahman; Abu Naser Mohammad Saif

Addresses: Swinburne University of Technology (Sarawak Campus), Q5B, Jalan Simpang Tiga 93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia ' University of Lincoln, Brayford Way, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK ' University of Lincoln, Brayford Way, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK ' University of Dhaka, Nilkhet Rd, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

Abstract: The impact of global COVID-19 pandemic, both in health and economic terms is becoming clearer. This article critically explores the challenges in implementing remote working practices in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Bangladesh. Based on the qualitative approach, interviewing 14 participants from SME owners, consultants, government officials and professors, we found several challenges such as financial constraints, bureaucracy, lack of knowledge and interest, communication problem, high employee turnover and difficulty to find trustworthy employee implementing remote working practices. The study also advanced some solutions such as convincing the benefits of remote working practices, government rules, financial incentives, training and IT courses, remote (online) classes in universities, and in implementing remote working practices in the SMEs not only during COVID-19 pandemic but also for the long-term. These have several implications regarding SMEs performances and worker benefits.

Keywords: remote working practices; COVID-19 pandemic; challenges; solutions; small-medium enterprises; SMEs; Bangladesh.

DOI: 10.1504/IJQI.2021.117186

International Journal of Quality and Innovation, 2021 Vol.5 No.2, pp.119 - 140

Received: 22 Jul 2020
Accepted: 13 Aug 2020

Published online: 20 Aug 2021 *

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