Traditional office leasing seems to be something of the past with new coworking and serviced office spaces springing up all over the country.
Over the last 10 years, there has been a change in the way we work with a visible shift in workplace culture. Not to mention the ever-evolving technology. This has brought about a high demand for flexible workspaces – whether it is a large corporation or a one-man-show. What was always a desk solution aimed at entrepreneurs, consultants and SMEs has become a sought after serviced office or coworking space that can be used as a satellite office for larger companies as well.
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More and more employers are starting to realise the benefits to their companies when they address their employees’ demands, needs and responsibilities, as well as their overall wellbeing. This can be addressed in many ways, one of which is to offer their employees more flexibility in terms of where and when they work. It’s like Mark Carruthers recently said via #WorkTrends on Twitter: “What is important to a single person at 30 is totally different than another 30-year old with a spouse, a couple of kids, a mortgage and a car loan.” For the latter, working from a satellite office, coworking space or serviced office like that of The Workspace at The Club in Hazelwood, might be the better option. Being closer to home, not having to sit in traffic for two to three hours a day (if not more) and having your own time are some of the needs many employees would vouch for. Granted, the employee must also commit to his or her responsibilities and get the job done, which is probably one of the main reasons many companies are not willing to step into the field of more flexible workspaces.
Still, the trends that are dominating the workplace these days are moving in a direction where people not only want to work for a purpose; they also want permanent flexibility, allowing them to work from home or closer to home and with that they still want the benefits of a permanent employee. These trends among others have had an impact on the development side of things when it comes to office blocks and workspaces across the country. Serviced offices and coworking spaces are a growing industry and as the work trends keep changing, this new and innovative industry is evolving around it.
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One of the biggest concerns of employees that work remotely is loneliness. The Workspace eliminates that by providing an open space where you can work among others while having your own privacy too. The Workspace’s branch at The Club is an open, modern space with large windows to the one side providing lovely views of The Club precinct and it is divided into a number of smaller, informal lounge areas, a coffee bar, shared desks as well as more private lock-up offices. It has a contagious atmosphere where the inspiration and productivity are tangible.
According to CEO, Mari Schourie, The Workspace is a full-blown hospitality business where the members come first. “I am very passionate about small businesses,” says Mari who also feels strongly about The Workspace’s staff being fundamental in the success stories of their members’ businesses. “The people here are not just a number,” she says. Schourie has been in the serviced office industry for 18 years and in 2014 she started the service office division for holding company, InteSpace. Today there are 12 branches of The Workspace with two upcoming branches in Linden and Parktown North. “Over the last couple of years the shift between serviced offices and coworking spaces has become evident,” says Schourie. The Workspace was one of the first local companies to have started with coworking in South Africa.
You’d think that millennials roam the coworking spaces and even though they form a large part of The Workspace’s membership, there is a wide variety of members considering language, race and age. The members include educated people with degrees, many of whom have started their own consulting companies. The main businesses that are run from The Workspace include services like attorneys, insurance brokers, financial advisors, business advisors and accountants. There are also journalists that work from these offices, as well as graphic designers and many more vast industries.
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The Workspace often hosts networking events and intimate networking dinners for members to mingle – a great initiative allowing members to find ways in which they can collaborate and expand their businesses.
Having an office close to grocery shops, schools and medical centres is ideal, and having it somewhere where you don’t need to sit in traffic all day, is even better. For The Workspace, a convenient locality is key. They try to help people save time, money and effort allowing them to focus their energy on building their business. Mari says: “Our branches are very strategically located. We focus very strongly on decentralised locations.” Most of the people working at The Workspace actually live just around the corner, but having an office where they can hold meetings and have someone answering the phones, is a great add-on to a professional business. For small businesses, this is really the ideal desk solution if you don’t want to work from home. It also reduces risk for small businesses, as there is no need to spend a fortune on office furniture, WiFi contracts and other start-up and set-up costs.
Even though The Workspace’s management team often travels overseas to see what is trending, it is also important to keep in mind that South Africa is unique. Knowing the type of people who work in these coworking spaces and serviced offices is one of the key aspects that makes The Workspace successful. It is necessary to know who the members are and what they want. Keeping in mind that these needs also keep changing, The Workspace keeps evolving around those requirements. In fact, they are currently busy looking at adding some studios to their offering for bloggers, vloggers and other creatives to use in response to recent feedback from their members.
The Workspace also offers booth seats with television screens (where their members can hold informal meetings or present presentations), training rooms and boardrooms and they are currently in the process of developing an app which will allow you to book a seat at any of their branches instantly.
Cnr Pinaster Avenue and 18th Street
The Club Shopping Centre
012 764 7200
Images: Adriaan Venner Scheepers, Capital Creators
Make-up: SD & Co Beauty