Webafrica closes Cape Town office, goes fully remote
Local internet service provider (ISP) Webafrica has closed down its Cape Town office as it has fully embraced remote working.
In a statement, it says the COVID-19 lockdown has taught businesses many things, and at Webafrica that is no different.
It notes that in March 2020, like many other South African organisations, Webafrica was forced to change the location of its operations from office-bound to work-from-home in a matter of days.
Now, two years later, the ISP made the decision to go fully remote and closed the Webafrica Cape Town office on 30 April.
The company says the Johannesburg office will remain open until February 2023, and follow suit thereafter.
According to the ISP, the main concern in the decision is how it would affect the staff’s well-being and productivity, as well as how it will affect the customer experience.
“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,” says Sean Nourse, CEO of Webafrica.
“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.”
The company notes its offices had been open to staff to use during the lockdown period; however, it was found that very few staff members would choose to come in, leaving the building eerily quiet.
It explains that rather than force staff to return to the office, their well-being and input were taken into account over the two years.
The ISP continuously evaluated the situation and surveyed staff as to what their preference is – to work from home or go into an office.
It says the overwhelming consensus was that staff found working from home held far more benefits than returning to the office.
According to Webafrica, 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 says.
“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 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 explains.
According to the company, 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.
It’s not only the benefits to current staff that made the decision a wise choice, but also within recruitment drives, says Webafrica.
Nourse explains it is now able to reach a much wider talent pool that is not being restricted by geographical location.
Webafrica is focusing hiring efforts in areas where customers reside in order to give back to the communities.
It has seen an exponential growth and currently provides jobs for 510 people across the country.
“We recognised the economic strain lockdown has put on many households with the record high unemployment rate in South Africa,” Nourse says.
It has employed around 250 new employees since the start of lockdown in 2020.
Webafrica is the fastest-growing ISP in the country, with over 150 000 customers connected and new products being added monthly.
Thus, it says, recruitment will continue throughout the year as the firm strives to keep providing this rapidly-expanding customer base with high-quality support.
The office closure will mark the dawn of a new era at Webafrica, the ISP notes, adding that working remotely will see it place trust in the same quality internet it promises to customers – internet that’s fast and reliable to ensure it is business as usual each day, no matter where staff members are working from.
“We encourage other South African businesses to follow suit and embrace the work from home movement, which is all possible through a high-quality internet connection such as ours,” Nourse concludes.