Mobile operator MTN is offering all employees an opportunity to apply for a fully-paid, fully-offline one-week holiday, over and above their annual leave allocations.
The pandemic has upended the traditional workplace and employees no longer have the luxury of ‘punching out’ on the workplace, nor do they ‘clock out’ of their personal lives when they arrive in the workplace, the company said in a statement on Wednesday (4 August).
“Covid-19 continues to add pressure and I have also seen how much more strain is put on our people and the business overall. In addition to the severe health concerns resulting from infections, we are seeing a much wider impact on the overall mental health and wellbeing of our workforce,” said MTN SA’s chief of human resources, Tebogo Maenetja.
“At MTN, we sought out insights into this growing trend and through various feedback channels we found that some of our people are experiencing strain, fatigue and in some instances burn-out.”
Maenetja said that the pandemic has disrupted work-life separation and MTN found that employees were consistently working considerably longer days than deemed healthy.
“The lack of a commute had seen our people sitting down at their desks at 07h00 and leaving at 19h00 and we have had to push back against this kind of behaviour as 16 months in – people are exhausted.”
MTN said that the initiative will run between 1 August and 31 October 2021 and sees all employees, including contractors, as well as employees in the stores and call centres, receive one week of complete shutdown – no emails, no calls, and no meetings.
“We believe that a healthy workforce will result in higher levels of efficiency and productivity and ultimately a better customer experience,” Maenetja said
Maenetja also pointed to other initiatives that MTN has introduced in an effort to establish a better work-life balance.
“We have onboarded a new employee wellness provider and introduced initiatives such as ‘No meeting day’ where MTN encourages all employees across its operations to not hold any internal meeting the whole day, this happens once a month.
“Around the world and across industries, organisations, including ourselves have had to rethink what work looks like in fundamental ways. And it’s on all of us — from senior executives to individual contributors — to provide meaningful solutions to navigate the days, months, and even years ahead.”