NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Most Kenyan companies and government agencies are
closing on Friday for the Christmas break to enable employees
join their families in celebrations.
While some would
resume operations soon after Christmas, others have told their
employees to return until the New Year.
Years back, most
employees would on such a day get a card from their
organizations wishing them and their loved ones a happy
But times have
changed, thanks to increased use of social media and other forms
of electronic messaging in the east African nation.
What the employees
would walk out of the office with on Friday as they head for
celebrations are electronic Christmas cards sent by the human
Most of Kenya’s
private firms and government agencies have adopted this form of
sending best wishes to their workers and customers to cut cost
and change with the trend.
For the employees, a
majority have already gotten cards via WhatsApp while messages
for customers are being sent through social media sites.
“We send our warmest
Christmas wishes to all our staff, stakeholders and the public
and a peaceful and welcome 2019,” an electronic message from the
Commission on Revenue Allocation, a Kenyan government agency,
said on Friday.
From the Commission
on Administrative Justice, a message posted on social media and
sent via WhatsApp to staff read in part on Friday, “... we send
you warmest greetings for the season and best wishes for the New
Dozens of other
Kenyan organizations also sent electronic messages on Friday to
wish their staff, customers and the general public a happy
Beatrice Nzimbo, a
human resource officer at a public relations company in Nairobi,
noted that firms have adopted e-messages because they are
cheaper, can reach more people and conform to modern technology.
“I don’t know of any
organization that is still sending the physical Christmas cards,
even to its employees. It is expensive and a tedious process
because you have to involve third parties to do the work, who
include designers, printers and even courier services, and all
these cost money,” she said.
messages, Nzimbo said, the cards are designed by the
communication department and then broadcast just from within the
organization as long as one has the contacts.
spending zilch on this new way of sending messages. Social media
came as a blessing to many firms because they would initially
spend at least 20 shillings (0.19 U.S. dollars) to send each
card,” she said.
However, as they
embrace the electronic messages, public relations agencies,
printers, designers, courier services and makers of hand-crafted
cards are counting losses as they lose business.
Some still miss the
“I got a WhatsApp
Christmas message from our company this morning,” Alfred Gatere,
who works with a bank in Nairobi, said on Friday. “I felt
appreciated, but my belief is cards have a more personal touch
because the boss would sign them,” he added.
According to him,
cards had some form of permanency as one would get and keep them
in their bedrooms or living rooms for the better part of the
“But with the
electronic messages, they are just for a moment. Once you open
and read them, that is it. And the fact that you will not print
the message, it gets lost within other photos or videos on your
phone in a few days,” he observed.
The shift is not
limited to companies and government agencies. The use of e-cards
has caught up with Kenyans long ago, and supermarket and
bookshops no longer stock Christmas cards.
A spot check in two
retail chains in Nairobi on Friday revealed that Christmas cards
are not gracing the shelves.
Bernard Mwaso, a
consultant with Edell IT Solutions, noted that with 42 million
Kenyans using the internet and social media, it makes no
business sense to send physical cards.
millions of people, are cheaper, convenient and modern, and that
is what any organization would want. Unfortunately, some
businesses are suffering but that is what happens with
disruptive technology,” he said.
The number of
letters sent locally dropped to 11.8 million in the third
quarter, from 14.2 million in the previous quarter, according to
the Communications Authority of Kenya, as technology continues
to erode fortunes of the post offices.