Electrum is located in the most congested city in South Africa. But with a few creative policies, we’ve been able to cut down the time we spend staring at other peoples’ bumper stickers.
Depending on who you ask, Cape Town is either the 41st or the 48th most congested city in the world. Either way, things are bad. The TomTom Traffic Index estimates that Capetonians are spending 35% more time on the road than they would if traffic were free-flowing.
Besides the frustrating loss of time, there’s the considerable stress factor associated with sitting in slow-moving traffic (Cape Town drivers’ aversion to letting anyone change lanes doesn’t help either!) And while sitting may or may not be the new smoking, a lungful of carbon monoxide will do nobody any good.
So we decided to do something about it. At Electrum, we’ve made it easier to commute by bicycle, instituted flexi-hours and even set up a satellite office for team members in the northern suburbs.
… secure bike storage and smart shower facilities….
Company director Eon Joubert led the way with the bicycle commute initiative. Since Electrum started, he’s been riding his bike the 14km from home to work and back, and more than 10 of our team members ride to work at least once a week. To make it easy for anyone at Electrum to do the same, we have secure bike storage as well as smart shower facilities with a fresh-towel service. (Company policy: glowing cheeks in the client presentation – good; sweaty pits in the client presentation – bad).
Between 10am and 3pm, we need our people to be in the office…
If we can’t get out of our cars entirely, at least we can get off the roads at the busiest times of the day. Electrum has a flexi-hours policy, allowing our team members to avoid the morning and evening peak traffic. Between 10am and 3pm, we need our people to be in the office – it’s important for us to be together for collaboration purposes – but otherwise, we’re happy for them to work remotely.
Of course, it takes a high level of mutual trust and a feeling of responsibility across the organisation for this to work, and that’s certainly the case among the people we hire. We think our flat management structure and joint decision-making gives everyone that sense of responsibility, so working remotely has worked for us. We’ll even pay for our team members’ home internet connection if they work remotely.
We set up a satellite office in Bellville…
Remote working suits many of us, but we also recognise that not all of us have a home office… and even when we do, sometimes we just need to escape the distractions of home. We set up a satellite office in Bellville so our team members in the northern suburbs have somewhere to sit down and concentrate. It’s pretty basic, but with the considerable advantage of not having Netflix or your beckoning snack cupboard.
Our efforts may only make the tiniest of dents in Cape Town’s peak traffic congestion problems – it’ll take a lot more bike lanes and flexitime to make a real difference. But we’re absolutely certain our policies have helped make Electrum a more productive, less stressful place to work.
If Electrum sounds like a place you’d like to bike into every day, check out our Careers page for current vacancies.