Business Africa

01 February 2022

Looking back at doing business during the pandemic

The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on every aspect of our lives. One of the most important lessons we at SEIDOR in Africa have learned, is the need for adaptability, particularly when it comes to our people.

Doing business during the pandemic

Helping employees maintain mental health and efficiency during a crisis requires flexibility, empathy, and consistent communication. When we went into lockdown, schools and daycare centres closed, making it imperative for us to offer employees with families greater flexibility when it came to where and how they work. Those who came into the office had to feel comfortable and safe, and we had to make sure the correct policies and procedures were in place.

We scaled down our Durban and Zambia offices significantly, an exercise that helped us to better understand what systems and processes needed to change to ensure efficient and productive remote work for our employees. In South Africa, we had to provide office space for employees who needed somewhere to work during load shedding.

Maintaining human interaction

Our interaction with customers became a higher priority. At the beginning of lockdown, we approached our strategy as if we were in the process of launching a new business. A key focus was on the types of products and services we could offer to customers to keep their businesses protected against a backdrop of massive change.

Social media became a crowded and noisy platform during the early months of the pandemic. This affected our go-to-market channels and we had to seek out new ways of reaching customers. People also started to experience virtual fatigue after spending hours every day on virtual conference platforms. These developments have had an impact on the way we recruit new staff, how we canvas to find new customers, and how we determine the requirements of our existing customers.

Focusing on what’s important for business growth

As our business grew, it allowed us to home in on what was important, what would enable greater customer retention and what would drive revenue. After some time we found ourselves asking why we had not done things that way before.

Had we not adapted to the new environment as early as we did, we would have been in survival mode three months into lockdown. It is testimony to the commitment of our people and customers that the business has continued to perform well under the pressures of the past two years.

Changing technology requirements

During this time, the need for people everywhere to have access to information grew exponentially. In response to this, we developed a product named Clarity by SEIDOR, which integrates with an ERP system and enables business intelligence to be consumed easily on laptops and mobile devices.

Remote work poses many security challenges for companies. Equipping employees to become a remote workforce has highlighted the need for security as never before, particularly when it comes to endpoints. Because employees are not physically working on-site, companies have had to secure the networks and devices used to access company data.

Following the commencement of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), how companies handle and analyse data is under intense scrutiny. Technology that enables and enforces regulation and compliance with the Act is allowing companies to manage information better and improve business processes.

Consistent values

The essence of Seidor Africa has remained the same. The organisation’s deeply-embedded values of excellence, customer first, people orientation, and focus – have remained unchanged. They have been reaffirmed by the number of past employees that have recently applied for positions in the company hoping to come back to this culture.

Overcoming new challenges

The biggest challenge for Seidor Africa was finding ways to help people maintain mental health. Lockdown placed families under an enormous amount of pressure, while some lost family members to COVID-19. Supporting our people became critical. From paying for funerals in certain cases to providing touchpoints for employees to ensure consistent communication, we had to let our teams know that we were there for them.

The management and leaderships teams met at least every two weeks to assess where we were, and what was and was not working. It was deeply gratifying to receive calls from staff to let us know that they appreciated our support.

On my part, I had to become used to working away from the office. I missed the place and the people. I missed the informal conversations and the catchups that take place naturally before and after meetings. In the virtual space, that does not happen.

We also found that days can become extremely long when people work remotely. Being in back-to-back meetings for 12 hours is exhausting and we had to learn to manage our time better.

The virtual world certainly emphasises the need for punctuality as there can be no excuse for not being on time. Meeting etiquette became important too. People have to remain attentive, pay attention to their backgrounds, and wear appropriate attire when meeting with customers.

The new year

The problems the world has faced during the pandemic are not going away anytime soon, which is why it has been important for us to entrench our proactive approach into the business. There is no going back, and we are likely to continue to operate the way we do for years to come.

For 2022, we have set our sights on further growth, and we are committed to remaining agile and alert-to-change and customer needs. We are grateful to our customers, partners, and employees for their commitment and loyalty, and we are appreciative of the trust customers have placed in SEIDOR.


SAP Business One

SAP Business One

SAP Business One is a business management software solution for small to medium-sized enterprises. It provides a suite of functions that simplify and streamline business operations.

Clarity by SEIDOR

Clarity by SEIDOR

The out-of-the-box suite of reports developed for SAP Business One to empower decision-makers through enhanced visualization of business data.


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Heinrich De Leeuw - SEIDOR in Africa
Heinrich de Leeuw
Managing Director - SEIDOR South Africa
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Heinrich De Leeuw - SEIDOR in Africa
Heinrich de Leeuw
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