The initial plan at Paystack, the Nigerian fintech company, was to run a 100% remote situation where staff will not be allowed into their physical offices this Friday. All staff were to work from home as a test scenario. The purpose was to provide guidance on how to operate should a shutdown become necessary, according to a company representative in an email to TechCabal on Tuesday.
That plan has been revised following the increase in Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, the company announced that instead of the Friday simulation, “all members of the Paystack team have been encouraged to work from home starting tomorrow (March 19).”
BuyCoins, a cryptocurrency exchange startup also operating from a Lagos office, has also activated full remote mode. “We’re mandating work from home at BuyCoins for the next few weeks and shall extend as need be,” CEO Timi Ajiboye said.
Ajiboye’s announcement was made on Tuesday before the new COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Wednesday by health authorities.
Mandating staff to work remotely, Ajiboye explained, was necessitated by an abundance of caution and out of an inclination to be “proactive in responsibility and begin to practice isolation and social distancing.”
It has turned out to be a prescient move, one that we may see more companies adopt.
After Nigeria’s first case was confirmed on February 28, 11 tech companies told TechCabal their immediate coronavirus response measures. MTN shut off physical meetings at its ‘Yellow Drome’ office in Lagos, canceling non-essential travel for all staff. “We now encourage the use of video calls and teleconference options,” the telco said.