MTN has given its employees an additional five days of paid leave in an effort to foster work-life balance that has been disrupted by long working hours since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the country's hard lockdown in late March 2020, companies across the country shifted employees to work from home, where many still remain.
The company said this "upended the traditional workplace, blurring the boundaries between work and home" - resulting in employees not being able to fully separate their office and private time.
MTN South Africa's chief of human resources, Tebogo Maenetja, says that between 1 August and 31 October 2021, all employees, contractors, as well as employees in stores and call centres will receive one week of "complete shutdown", which means that staff shouldn't engage in emails, calls or meetings during their leave period.
MTN noted that the pandemic had disrupted work-life separation, with employees "consistently working considerably longer days than deemed healthy".
"The lack of a commute had seen our people sitting down at their desks at 07:00 and leaving at 19:00, and we have had to push back against this kind of behaviour as 16 months in, people are exhausted," MTN said.
In addition to the long hours, the pandemic has also had an impact on the "overall mental health and well-being" of employees, and the company found that some people were experiencing strain, fatigue and in some instances burnout.
Other international companies - including social media group LinkedIn and asset manager Fidelity Investments - have also recently given employees extra leave to fight the impact of brutal working hours.