Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub cracks the whip

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub has ordered senior staff to return to the office, ending the company’s blanket hybrid work-from-home policies.

Following the COVID–19 pandemic, Vodacom allowed employees to continue working from home even after the lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

After the cracks started to show, Vodacom asked employees to work at the office three days a week. All employees had the option to work from home twice a week.

However, Vodacom employees and commercial partners highlighted that the company struggled to accomplish anything.

These people highlighted that managers and executives did not make important decisions, which hamstrung the operators’ ability to get things done.

This prompted Joosub to crack the whip and force all senior managers and leaders to return to the office for five days a week.

A Vodacom spokesperson told MyBroadband it was “necessitated by the prevailing complex business environment caused by various micro and macro-economic challenges”.

Vodacom said its business environment requires fully present and accessible leadership to steer the organisation in the right direction.

“Therefore, in our view, by being on-site, leaders can collaborate more effectively and ensure issues are resolved timely for our customers,” the company said.

Simply put, Vodacom confirmed that the work-from-home and hybrid experiment failed and that the company suffered because of it.

Vodacom joined numerous large companies around the world in asking their employees to return to the office.

Elon Musk was one of the first high-profile chief executives to end the remote-working trend when, in mid-2022, he told Tesla workers to return to the office or leave.

Musk was widely criticised. However, it was not long before numerous other large companies followed his lead.

Apple, Disney, Starbucks, and Google required their staff to return to the office fully or a few days a week.

The back-to-the-office trend is accelerating. 90% of companies said they plan to implement return-to-office policies by the end of 2024.

The reality is that having employees in the same place improves productivity and ensures good collaboration. Without it, cohesion and company culture are lost.

Joosub’s back-to-the-office decision is, therefore, in line with global trends and will serve Vodacom well.


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