Karoo Hoogland goes remote
Karoo Hoogland joins the growing number of municipalities to adopt remote working
Earlier this year, KAROO HOOGLAND joined the growing number of municipalities to transition over to remote working. Well regarded for its municipal performance and ranked high by the National Treasury for its ERP system, we spoke to their Chief Financial Officer, Sarel Myburgh, about the effects that remote working has had on his team’s work performance. Myburgh, who is known for his operational acumen, is serious about maintaining his team’s high standard of performance; and keeping them functioning like a well-oiled machine is non-negotiable. Here is what he had to say about the transition.
When did the transition to remote working happen for your team and why?
We took action in early March when it became apparent that a national lockdown was imminent. It was clear what we had to do, which was to get the team set up and fully operational before then. We could not afford to lag. It took a few days for the Sebata team and Karoo Hoogland finance department to finalise the entire process; and by the time lockdown started, we were set-up in our homes.
Were there any challenges during the transition?
In the beginning, there were challenges with data connectivity but that was resolved. We are presently able to conduct 90% of our business operations from home without our work performance being hampered.
Who in your municipality is remote working and using Microsoft Teams?
Karoo Hoogland’s finance team; more specifically, myself (the CFO), the Municipal Manager, all the accountants, junior staff, and some of the councillors with which we conduct council meetings.
What has been the impact on conducting meetings?
We have important forums that we sit on, including council meetings and tender adjudications. Thankfully, these have not been impacted. In fact, we’ve held several of these forums on Microsoft Teams unabated and without major hiccups.
What is your favourite feature on Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace. I especially appreciate the phoning facility that it has. When you create a group on the system, everyone is working together in real-time. It also gives me the assurance that no-one in my team is left out. Also, we have the option to use audio-only, which we sometimes prefer over video.
What other benefits are you particularly enjoying about remote working?
Travel has been drastically reduced. We only travel to the office when physical sign-off and authorisation is required on official documentation.
Will your finance team be returning to the office after lockdown?
The decision does not rest with me; however, I don’t think it’s necessary to be in the office five days of the week. The change in environment has had no bearing on my team’s work performance. We’ve proven that working remotely works well.
With results like these, is it any wonder that Microsoft Teams has become the fastest growing app in Microsoft’s history with more than 330,000 companies using it worldwide.
ABOUT KAROO HOOLAND
Karoo Hoogland is an administrative area in the Namakwa District of the Northern Cape, South Africa. The municipality, situated in Williston, incorporates the towns of Fraserburg and Sutherland. Known for its rustic beauty and their famous Williston Winter Festival, the town was recently featured on KykNet’s Kwêla channel and is in the running to win South Africa’s ‘Town of the Year 2020’ accolade.
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