Back to the office or work-from-home — Mobile operators’ remote work policies

South Africa’s Covid–19 restrictions ended on 22 June 2022, but mobile network operators MTN and Vodacom have kept their hybrid work policies in effect.

On the other hand, Cell C re-introduced in-office work policies towards the end of 2021 and said it enabled better integration and collaboration between teams.

MyBroadband asked MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom, and Rain for insight into their work-from-home policies.

Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy told MyBroadband that the operator had not changed its policy after health minister Joe Phaahla repealed South Africa’s Covid-19 regulations.

“Although our policy hasn’t changed subsequent to the recent lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, there has been a steady increase in the number of staff members that work from Vodacom offices,” Kennedy said.

MTN has observed a similar trend, with the operator’s executive for corporate affairs, Jacqui O’Sullivan, saying that its policy would also remain unchanged.

“The current policy will remain as it is,” O’Sullivan said.

“We have seen an increase of employees coming to our premises, this sometimes fueled by the current load-shedding where employees look for a reliable power supply.”

O’Sullivan explained that MTN believes its approach benefits the well-being of its employees.

“We believe that this approach supports our goal of building an empowering organisational culture, where the well-being of our employees is at the core of what we do,” she said.

Cell C’s chief human resources officer Juba Mashaba said the operator ended its hybrid working model at the end of 2021, adding that its regional teams are still allowed to work remotely.

“Employees at the Waterfall Campus have all returned to the office,” said Mashaba.

“This has enabled better integration and collaboration between teams to deliver on key corporate priorities, relevant product solutions for our customers and offer greater efficiency and responsiveness in customer service,” he said.

Mashaba said returning to the office has been necessary for its business as they are operationalising a new business model.

“Our regional teams, where we have fewer numbers, remain on the remote working model, however, they do come into the office for face time with colleagues at regular intervals,” Mashaba added.

Telkom and Rain had not answered our questions by the time of publication.

Vodacom and MTN’s hybrid work policies

Kennedy told MyBroadband that its hybrid work policy let employees elect to work from home twice a week.

“Naturally, there are certain roles where a physical presence is required that can only be fulfilled at the likes of the Vodacom Campus and/or a Vodacom office, which would preclude certain individuals from working remotely,” Kennedy said.

MTN’s O’Sullivan said the company’s anytime, anywhere work policy provides its employees with the flexibility to choose how to split their time between working remotely and in the office or on-site.

“We believe this approach provides the best of both worlds, with many benefits for individuals as well as the business,” she said.

“MTN considers work flexibility as a ‘Responsible Choice’ intended to support personal preferences, keeping in consideration of colleagues and team members.”

“The anytime, anywhere work flexibility model aims to achieve a balance of personal work-style preferences, operational business needs and team culture sustenance,” O’Sullivan added.

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Back to the office or work-from-home — Mobile operators’ remote work policies