Kenyan employees are anticipated to embrace virtual workspaces in 2024, as forecasted by Bowmans, prompting a reevaluation of the legal implications associated with such arrangements.

Terry Mwango, Head of Dispute Resolution at Bowmans, emphasized the importance of considering recent case law in navigating this shift.

A virtual workspace, a cloud-based platform facilitating remote work, is gaining popularity among employers aiming to reduce costs.

Unlike traditional office spaces, virtual workspaces eliminate the need for physical office space, furniture, and equipment, making them a cost-effective alternative.

Quinter Okuta, an associate at Bowmans, highlighted the economic advantages, stating, "We anticipate more employees being engaged in a ‘virtual workspace’ in 2024, and employers will need to consider the legal implications of such working arrangements, with reference to recent case law."

This trend aligns with the current economic challenges faced by Kenyan businesses.

S&P Global's monthly survey for Stanbic Bank revealed that a significant number of Kenyan firms have frozen expansion plans for the next year.

Two out of every ten companies reported intentions to expand, reflecting the prevailing business climate.

Stanbic Bank Kenya’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) further indicated weak business confidence among surveyed firms in various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail, services, and mining.

The weak confidence is attributed to a record-high rise in input prices, particularly in fuel and material costs, over the past decade.

Despite the challenges, companies in the construction sector remain optimistic about growth, aligning with the government's emphasis on affordable housing projects.

The positive outlook is supported by a 1.5 per cent levy on workers' earnings, matched by employers, contributing to increased investment in this sector.

Analysts at Stanbic Bank and S&P Global noted, "Business expectations for the coming 12 months remained muted in October, with firms showing a modest degree of positivity that was little changed from September."

The Future Output Index, while stable, reflected cautious optimism, indicating resilience in the face of economic uncertainties.

Kenyan firms have grappled with rising operating expenses since last year, attributed to soaring fuel prices, escalating electricity bills, and costly raw materials.

These challenges, exacerbated by global supply constraints and currency fluctuations, underscore the need for businesses to adapt to cost-efficient alternatives like virtual workspaces to navigate the evolving economic landscape.