Payprop CEO Jan Davel says the company is happy to give employees control over where they work.
Leading rental payment processing system PayProp has given its employees carte blanche to choose where they want to work from. Since 1 July, all 134 employees across PayProp, its parent company Humanstate and Humanstate’s charitable foundation GivenGain given the freedom to stay working remotely as part of the Humanstate group’s wider adoption of distributed working practices.
Staff in South Africa, the UK, the United States, Canada and Switzerland can now work from home, while travelling, in our group offices, which have recently been converted into co-working spaces, or even the beach.
The company has already made its first fully ‘distributed’ (location-independent) appointment, hiring a new senior accountant after an interview and onboarding process conducted entirely remotely via videoconferencing. While her employer is registered in Switzerland, the new accountant happens to be working from South Africa.
Trust and responsibility
One can only truly begin to understand the impact of the decision when considering the surrender of management control that comes with it.
We trust our employees implicitly. Some have been with the company well over a decade while others are brand new – but all have been through the same hiring process and we are happy to give them control over where they work so they can be at their most productive.
This points to another massive task the company has had to undertake – the total reengineering of its collaboration and communication systems and processes. There were obvious questions over systems and technology, but in South Africa, basic considerations had to be taken into account including unreliable Internet connections and load shedding. One of the positives to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic was that it showed we had the right equipment, technology and processes in place to allow distributed work. We will continue to refine this while ensuring we continue to support colleagues who have chosen to work away from the office.
Distributed working became a necessity in March in response to Covid-19, but the wider Humanstate group had been considering a distributed work model since long before the pandemic struck, says Humanstate Group Executive Chairman Johannes van Eeden.
“As a global company, we were already used to working together at a distance and had all of the technology in place to do so effectively. Now, even against the backdrop of a global pandemic, we’re seeing how distributed work is making us more efficient and more productive than ever,” says Johannes.
Employees have been equally enthusiastic about the benefits, pointing to savings on travel, higher productivity and less commuting. A survey across the Humanstate group found that 46 percent of employees planned to work almost exclusively outside the office even after the pandemic, while a similar proportion wanted to split their time between offices and other locations going forward.
Moving forward together
Despite the initial challenges and hard work, the distributed work model has already enabled some innovative new ways to build a positive, vibrant company.
This month, all employees across PayProp and the rest of the Humanstate group have been invited to take part in a global online fundraising challenge, bringing everyone together virtually for some friendly competition while also making a difference for charities hit hard by recent events.
“It’s an ongoing process, but I am very excited about this new chapter and the opportunities it presents,” says Johannes. “Humanstate’s mission has always been to remove the barriers that divide us. Becoming a borderless distributed organisation is another step towards achieving that – in a way that benefits both ourselves and our clients.”