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How Namibian businesses adapted to the pandemic

How Namibian businesses adapted to the pandemic


Like many developing countries, the biggest economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the deteriorating labour market conditions in Namibia.

The pandemic has been directly and indirectly responsible for the widespread loss of jobs in the country, further deteriorating the labour market.

The labour ministry earlier this year reported that the reasons for many of the retrenchments were economic, transfer of business, re-organization, or operational, and saw 1 278 employers letting go of 15 442 employees over the last two years.

Many businesses had to reduce their staff or completely close down due to the impact of the pandemic, amidst the already sinking economy.

However, the employment market didn’t collapse as businesses had to adapt.

How did businesses adapt?

As the work environment shifted and embraced a new normal, the new places and ways of work became part of a broader office ecosystem that challenged previous perceptions of how and why office space is used.

A 2021 study by Deloitte Namibia indicates that businesses employed various strategies to reduce cost and thereby maintain human capital. These include:

Real Estate Cost Savings

Virtual working substantially reduced real estate spending through divestiture and diversification of real estate investments.

Labour Cost Savings
Early research indicated that employees would be willing to trade as much as 10% of their compensation for the ability to move to a lower-cost area and work remotely.

Amplified Talent Access

As top tech companies set the stage for virtual work offerings, others were pressured to adopt similar programs to remain competitive. Virtual work programs also created access to net-new talent pools. The digitization of recruitment has led to online recruitment platforms like, a digital recruitment platform connecting the best talent to job opportunities available for Namibians.

Increased Engagement

Flexible schedules increase engagement by as much as 30% and reduce employee turnover by as much as 12% Reduced Emissions Reduced real-estate holdings, commuting and business travel ultimately decrease the company’s carbon footprint.

How did employees adopt it?
On the one end of the spectrum, employees showed remarkable resilience and adaptability as they rose to the pandemic’s challenges, and with their employers’ support and mandate, they achieved innovative results that could otherwise have taken years to materialise.

However, the pandemic has surely tested the limits of the employer-employee relationship. The majority of respondents in both the Deloitte survey want the flexibility to choose where they want to work from. While Covid-19 created a widespread global need for immediate action, the premise of virtual working and the demand for a flexible working environment was gaining momentum long before Covid-19, the survey found.

Looking ahead, despite the pandemic being over, businesses are slowly recovering and have to continue looking at the future of recruitment, and how we work, and continue exploring hybrid workplace models as the world redefines the new normal. –


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