One of South Africa’s biggest internet companies is moving to a permanent work-from-home model

Internet Service Provider Webafrica has announced that it will close its physical offices and go fully remote.

The decision comes after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the group to quickly introduce a work-from-home model in a matter of days, it said. The Webafrica Cape Town office will officially close on 30 April 2022, followed by the Johannesburg office on February 2023.

“A sizeable proportion of our customers work from home, totally reliant on Webafrica to keep them connected and productive, and as a business, we believe that it is important to put our money where our mouth is. We supply our staff with the same internet connectivity that we offer our customers, and it has kept our company running at an optimal, productive level,” said Sean Nourse, chief executive of Webafrica.

Webafrica’s offices have been open to staff to use during the lockdown period, however, the company found that very few staff members would choose to come in, leaving the building eerily quiet. Rather than force staff to return to the office, their wellbeing and input were taken into account over the two years, the group said.

It continuously evaluated the situation and surveyed staff as to what their preference is – to work from home or go into an office. The overwhelming consensus was that staff found working from home held far more benefits than returning to the office.

Employees are provided with all equipment they should need to optimally perform their jobs and can do so in the comfort of their own homes.

“Remote working has exceeded our expectations in terms of employee productivity and the savings our staff gain by not travelling to work,” Nourse said. Employees are also saving in travel time and costs, he said.

“On average, by working from home we save our employees approximately 2.5 hours a day in traffic and with rising petrol costs, remote working drastically reduces the burden of these increases on our staff’s pockets.”

The company also points out that the move makes it easier for some to tend to family matters.

“If remote working can give our staff that extra time to spend with their children or make family responsibilities easier on them, I’d say it’s definitely worth it,” Nourse said. Employee productivity has gone up by 20% since moving fully remote and employee happiness, which is measured on a quarterly basis, is at an all-time high.”

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