Before South Africa’s national Covid-19 lockdown was imposed on 26 March, only 1.4% of those with jobs worked from home. Between 29 April and 6 May, 77.9% of staff working through lockdown were working from home.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that, globally, about one in six jobs could be done from home, but “that the potential to do so requires, at a minimum, that countries make the necessary investments in improving telecommunications infrastructure”.
In South Africa, this is a particularly pressing issue, as the cost of mobile calls and data is considerably higher than in more developed economies.
If yours is a small to medium-sized business, employing 10-50 people, your increased telephone bill is likely to be a growing area of concern, as your employees are having to use their cellphones for business calls and claim back the costs.
With the South African economy struggling to emerge from Covid-19, containing costs is critical to survival.
Financially, managing employee cellphone use is difficult. Each employee is using a different mobile network, a different cost package, and it is almost impossible to differentiate between employees’ business and private usage.
Although WhatsApp can offer some cost savings, it is a relatively informal platform, it only works between WhatsApp users and dialling people who aren’t contacts requires some clumsy workarounds, so there will inevitably be some employee usage of peak-time cellphone rates.
This is where Mytelnet comes in.
It is a highly scalable, low-cost mobile communications solution that can be managed from a central hub and downloaded on each employee’s mobile phone as an application.
The business pays a monthly platform fee for the service and a flat rate for local calls.
How it works
Mytelnet’s mobile app serves as a second telephone number for each user that can be used to dial out over an internet connection.
Like WhatsApp, it offers traditional voice calls, a chat-app experience and video calling capabilities.
On top of that, users get full PABX functionality, voice conferencing and the ability to record calls. It takes only minutes to set up.
Calls are made using mobile data, fixed LTE or fibre connections – so basically any internet connection. This is ideal if team members are working from home and don’t have physical landline infrastructure installed.
Using Mytelnet, users can call, message and conference call at any time from any spot in the world. As long as there is an active internet connection, the Mytelnet number will always route calls directly to the user’s smartphone.
“We use the Mytelnet comms platform for our own day to day communications. This has allowed us to completely phase out cellphone cost reimbursements for our staff. When we were faced with lockdown we were able to get our full team up and running very quickly as our remote communication capability was sorted. All we had to do was ensure that our staff had good connectivity at home,” said Alastair Brockwell, Mytelnet’s Chief Growth Officer.
“We were also able to rapidly assist other large businesses, including those in the call centre industry, with similar requirements as they needed to be fully operational during the lockdown. Mytelnet was the obvious solution for them too.”
Central online dashboard
Mytelnet provides each client with an online dashboard or portal where all calls and numbers can be managed and tracked.
On this central hub, each team member is allocated an extension and a business number that can be purchased or ported, and after they have installed the Mytelnet app on their phones, all incoming calls to that number will be routed to that person’s phone.
It enables each user to see immediately whether they are receiving a business call (on the Mytelnet number) or a personal call (on their mobile number) and answer it appropriately.
In a world where work from home is causing employee burnout, this facility also allows employees to separate their business and personal lives.
Each user on the company account can phone other listed users at no charge. That means employee to employee calls are free.
For companies operating within formalised business communities, Mytelnet to Mytelnet calls can also be treated as internal, and will be free. Any calls from the Mytelnet app to other South African non-premium mobile and landline numbers are charged at 39c a minute excluding VAT.
The cost management benefit is that Mytelnet provides the business manager with a usage overview on the dashboard and downloadable .csv format call records, enabling detailed analysis of usage and spend.
It allows the manager to view frequently called numbers, whether they are on the network or not, and the amount of time individual employees spend calling. It gives a snapshot of what the business is spending on calls.
Support and security
While the app and portal are simple and intuitive to navigate, Mytelnet’s trained technical team is available to assist with the onboarding of full organisations and set-up of individual users.
The system has robust security features to keep user and usage information safe from outside sources.
Because of its military grade encryption protocols and the fact that Mytelnet makes its money from telephony services rather than advertising, users on the Mytelnet platform can enjoy far more secure calls and messages than on social platforms.
Choosing your solution
Making the work from home decision for your business is not straightforward.
If you are still considering the transition or how to make your remote team more effective, Mytelnet can offer you either an interim or a permanent solution to scale up or scale down.
Mytelnet has recently introduced a Freemium package. For up to three users, your business gets the app and the platform at no monthly cost, and you receive R10 of talk time to get started.
For accounts with more than three users, you pay R35 per user excluding VAT. Volume discounts apply for accounts with more than 50 users.
This article was published in partnership with Mytelnet.