Tag: Johannesburg

Co-working spaces set to shake up property industry

Co-working spaces, the trend that is shaking up the traditional workplace model the world over, is set to cause a dramatic change in how and where people work in South Africa.

Linda Trim, director of FutureSpace – a joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap that offers high end co-working space, says that in 2016, there were approximately 11 000 co-working locations around the world.

“But this figure is expected to more than double to 26 000 by 2020. By comparison, there are approximately 24 000 Starbucks locations worldwide. Taking a cue from the popular reference to the coffee giant’s location strategy, that means there may soon be a co-working space on every corner.”

Trim noted that co-working spaces were increasingly popular with strong demand for FutureSpace’s offices.

“We already have steady 80% occupancy rate only three months after launching.”

FutureSpace plans to open further offices around South Africa, a possibly overseas in 2018 such is the demand.

The biggest shift Trim expects to see in the coming years is that co-workspace will become a key component of many companies’ workplace and real estate strategies — for occupiers and building owners alike.

“Flexible workspace is not just for millennial freelancers or tech startups anymore. Large, multinational companies are increasingly taking on space at flexible workspace operators or integrating shared working spaces into their own environments,” she noted.

For example, Microsoft recently shifted 70% of their sales staff in New York City to flexible workspace. Large employers already make up the fastest growing market for shared workspace provider and many businesses’ preferences are moving toward short-term real estate contracts with flexible provisions.

Companies like IBM and Microsoft have begun to outsource the design, building and management of some of their workspaces to third parties.

Says Trim: “In the same way we now purchase many technologies as services rather than as software, the future of ‘space as a service’ looks bright.

“This model provides companies with a way to access space in an on-demand fashion, drawing on the knowledge of outside experts in a way that frees them to focus on their own core businesses.”

Building owners are also finding opportunities to revitalise underused spaces by transforming them into the type of shared work areas that are increasingly in demand.

Already, many occupiers won’t consider a building without available flexible space. To remain relevant, commercial office buildings will need to create spaces that attract people to connect and collaborate — both within the office and outside of it.

In South Africa, as in the rest of the world, companies will soon need to think more about accessing office space than owning or leasing it.

This paradigm shift will require an evaluation of “core” and “flexible” space needs.

Core space is the real estate a company must rent or own over the long term for the business to function. Flexible space is the real estate that can be deployed quickly without long-term commitment, adjusting in near “real time” based on needs.

“By categorising space needs this way, businesses can make better decisions about how to execute a real estate strategy that minimises cost and maximises opportunities,” Trim adds.

One of the best examples of large companies adopting the flexible co-working workspace approach in Asia is HSBC’s recent contract for 400 desks in WeWork’s Tower 535 in Hong Kong.

“It created the right environment for their staff, working in the same location as other like-minded teams, including Hong Kong’s fin techs and other startups,” says Trim.

By making flexible workspace an integral part of an organisation’s workplace strategy, companies can not only provide employees with a valuable opportunity for choice and connectivity, but they can realise meaningful benefits thanks to flexibility.

In balancing core and flexible space needs, companies can reduce financial risks related to long-term space needs and be nimble in making changes as needed.

“Building owners can benefit from transforming underutilised spaces into shared working areas, which in turn can help attract and retain tenants, “ Trim concludes.

Potholes to cost Jo’burg R88m

Herman Mashaba, mayor of Johannesburg, recently revealed his plans to alleviate the city’s pothole problem by awarding R88-million to address the pothole repair backlog across the city.

The Johannesburg Road Agency has launched a new mobile app called JRA Find & Fix, to allow citizens to report road related defects like potholes, missing manhole covers, defective traffic signals etc.

This is according to Christelle Colman, Chief executive officer of Europ Assistance South Africa, who says that potholes cause major frustration among motorists as they can cause severe damage to a vehicle such as tyre punctures, rim impairments or damaged wheel alignment or suspension.

Colman said: “In extreme cases, vehicles can be written off and the occupants can be badly injured. By having roadside assistance service in place the motorists will at least have peace of mind that help is on its way should their vehicle not be driveable after hitting a pothole.”

R1.38-billion a year needed

She says that it is however worrying that the Johannesburg Roads Agency recently announced that it will need R1.38-billion per year for the next decade to be able to repair all the roads in the province. Due to the lack of maintenance 48% of the roads in the area are classified as being in poor or very poor condition.

Colman said: “There is generally no warning signs of potholes ahead and drivers often see the potential danger of a pothole when it is too late to swerve out of harm’s way, or another vehicle may approach from the front making it impossible for the driver to miss the pothole.”

In the event of hitting a pothole that causes damage to the vehicle, she urges motorists to contact their emergency roadside assistance provider immediately. She explains that this service can prove to be extremely beneficial to the motorist, especially when considering personal safety.

Colman said: “Should a motorist be travelling at night it is increasingly difficult to spot and avoid potholes and if they are stranded late at night in a deserted or dangerous area, this service can prove to be the difference between life and death.

The roads in the deserted areas are generally in a worse condition compared to the highways, therefore the driver faces a bigger risk of hitting a pothole in those areas leaving them stranded in a dangerous area. It is also important that drivers have their dedicated emergency number saved on their phone, as many insurers insist that the policyholder only deal the specified emergency assistance provider in order for the policy benefit to pay out.”

Another reason why potholes are such a frustration for motorists is because the general motor insurance policy does not cover pothole damage to one’s tyres – the motorist will need a separate tyre insurance cover in order to claim for this damage.

“Insurance policies will only pay a claim if hitting a pothole led to a bigger accident that caused damage to the vehicle, but will not pay for damage caused only to the tyres. Motorists therefore have to pay for new tyres out of their own pocket and this can become a costly affair if all four tyres have to be replaced on a regular basis,” she explains.

Colman urges all motorists to find out whether or not they have emergency road side assistance services readily available to them through existing service providers, as most insurers or banks offer these services to their clients.

“It is also important ascertain exactly what service they have and what it offers.

“Being stuck next to the road after hitting a pothole can become a very traumatic experience, but by having an emergency roadside assistance provider on speed-dial – this trauma and stress can be reduced significantly.

This initiative is however a great first stride in making the country’s roads safer for all road users, with the aim of reducing the number of accidents and consequently also fatalities,” concludes Colman.

Source: Wheels24

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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