Tag: coworking

The increasing migration of flexible office space and co-working locations to areas outside of major metropolitan cities globally is creating a ‘flex economy’ that could contribute more than R3.8 trillion to global local economies in the next decade, according to the first comprehensive socio-economic study of second-city and suburban workspaces. It also revealed that in South Africa, on average 265 new jobs are created in communities that contain a flexible workspace, with an extra R30.8 million per workspace going directly into the local economy.

This rise in local working is being largely driven by big companies adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central HQ and increasingly basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces. Most are doing so to improve employee wellbeing by allowing their people to work closer to home, and also to save money and boost productivity.

Jobs creation and the ‘sandwich economy’

Across the 19 countries analysed, the average individual workspace sustains 218 jobs. This includes temporary jobs created during the fitting-out stage of the office space, permanent jobs to run the office, including reception, maintenance, cleaning etc., plus the jobs associated with the occupancy of the workspace.

Economic impact

As well as direct job creation, flexible workspaces benefit the local area through an uplift in Gross Value Added (GVA), the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area.

For the greater good

Aside from the direct financial impact, local office space has been found to benefit workers and local regions in other, societal ways.

The next 10 years

As well as assessing the impact of individual centres, Regus also looked at the estimated potential of each market to host a larger, national portfolio of local flexible workspaces.

Mark Dixon, CEO for Regus’ parent company IWG, said: “When people commute into major cities their wallets commute with them. Working locally keeps that spending power closer to home. What this study shows is that providing more opportunities for people to work closer to home can have a tremendous effect, not just on them, but on their local area too.”

Five tips for running a virtual office

Industry 4.0 is changing the way we do business – particularly the traditional concept of workspace. Reputation Matters, a proudly African research agency, has been successfully working from a virtual office space since 2008 and shares five tips for acing it.

A virtual office is an office that exists almost entirely in cyberspace. Employees are free to work from anywhere that has an internet connection. Working from home or a coffee shop, or even from the side lines of a youngster’s soccer match, is commonplace. “Benefits of the virtual office include cost cutting on items like physical office maintenance, increased employee happiness and productivity as the daily commute is eliminated and they spend more time with family,” says Regine le Roux, managing director at Reputation Matters.

Le Roux explains that a virtual office does require a shift from the traditional office mentality and shares some tips for making it work:

Get the right people on board
It takes discipline and a high level of intrinsic motivation for employees to work from home. Management needs to be able to trust them to deliver quality work within agreed timelines. “We have an extensive recruitment process that gauges potential employees’ ability to work remotely,” says le Roux.

Have the right tools in place
Employees require functional laptops, cell phones, and internet connection to work from anywhere. The virtual office also requires cloud storage and digital systems for scheduling, conferencing, and task management; luckily, there are a host of business applications for every aspect of the business.

Have set team get-togethers
Convenient as the virtual office is, employees may feel increasingly isolated. “We have weekly Skype meetings and I make a point of it to check in telephonically with each employee for a monthly one-on-one. Monthly we also meet up for ‘Cheers for Peers’, an initiative that celebrates employee achievements with regional teams meeting face-to-face for a fun activity,” suggests le Roux.

Have set office hours
With increased connectivity comes the temptation to simply never switch off. Nowhere is this truer than in a virtual office, where the home environment often doubles as the office. ”I encourage my team to only be online after 07:00 and to switch off by 19:00, a balanced lifestyle key for productivity,” explains le Roux.

Have a professional office
Consider investing in a shared office space. This will enhance the reputation of your business when you need to host face-to-face client meeting. There are several service providers who give access to such leased office spaces for a fraction of the cost that it would take to buy and maintain a business property.

“We often read that the virtual office and flexible working hours is ‘the way of the future’ and we are proud to have stepped into future long ago,” says Le Roux.

The global co-working trend of the past few years which disrupted the traditional office space is itself already being disrupted as the demand for shared work space that is more like a luxury five star luxury hotel grows.

Linda Trim, director at FutureSpace, says that co-working spaces have tended to be utilitarian “rows of bros” hunched over laptops in bland cubicles, pausing every so often to play ping-pong creating a noisy, bustling atmosphere.

“But that is changing because there is a rapidly growing demand for shared work spaces that are tranquil, beautifully designed and more like five star hotels in their look and services levels.

“These are the kinds of places that attract blue chip companies, executives, independent consultants, start-ups and those simply wanting a premium service with concierges on hand to help you really get your head down and achieve your work goals.

“The focus really is on helping you be extremely productive.”

Trim says that FutureSpace was developed by taking the established co-working model and making it better by offering every service a worker could want from the moment they arrive.

“In particular the depth and sophistication of technology services offered by premium shared work spaces is increasingly a distinguishing factor as this is often not available in basic co-working offices. Very high speed, reliable wifi and instant video conferencing facilities in particular are in great demand.”

The tech factor is prevalent in other ways too: People can quickly book desks, private offices, meeting rooms, summon tea and coffee, or enlist some on-site tech help to ensure everything is working when it needs to be.

“Everything is on-demand and available only when you need it,“ Trim notes. “This kind of Airbnb and Uber style flexibility is also one of the biggest drivers of premium shared office space. Ask and a concierge will bring you lunch or book a call with New York straight away so you can get the most out of your working day.”

Trim adds that another differentiator was that driving the demand for premium shared offices was the number of quality, knowledge sharing educational events and networking with people from different companies and countries.

“Having an opportunity to meeting and mix with people doing great and interesting things is an invaluable experience for business people,” Trim notes. FutureSpace recently held a stock market trading masterclass and will also hold an inspirational talk by a sexual violence survivor for Women’s Day.

The flexibility of having a well designed office available ready when you are at a lower cost than a more traditional office is proving popular. FutureSpace recently opened its third office in Bryanston to compliment its existing offices in Rivonia Road and Katherine Street in Sandton such is the demand.

By Helena Wasserman for Business Insider SA

The American office-sharing giant WeWork will open its first office on the continent in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

WeWork offers large shared workplaces for individuals and companies who don’t want the hassle and cost of maintaining their own offices.

It is renowned for creating comfortable, millennial-friendly surroundings, which include having open lounges and plush sofas, as well as free coffee, craft beer on tap and even mouthwash in the bathrooms.

All WeWork offices have lounges and conference areas.

Offices typically have private phone booths and a communal kitchen. Some even have gyms, as well as ping-pong, pool and foosball tables.

Fast internet comes standard as does “business-class” printers, front desk service, fruit-infused water and access to office supplies. Buildings are typically open 24 hours a day and offer package delivery services.

WeWork offices also offer free coffee.

Launched in 2010 in New York, WeWork has been called the most hyped start-up in the world after Softbank announced a plan to invest $16 billion into the privately-held company last year. The investment would have made WeWork the second most valuable start-up worldwide, but the Japanese behemoth has since cooled on its plan, scaling down its commitment to only $2 billion.

Still, WeWork is massive. The company has 400 offices in 100 cities, with 400,000 members who pay monthly fees to use its offices. It’s the biggest office tenant in both New York City and London.
The majority of WeWork members work for themselves – but almost a third of its members are businesses, who rent space for their employees.

WeWork office decor has been described as “startup kitsch”.
Its first South Africa office will be at the brand-new Rosebank Link building located at 173 Oxford Road. WeWork will rent it from Redefine Properties, under a revenue sharing agreement.

A Redefine representative said the building should be ready for occupation by August. WeWork will occupy six floors.

Up to 2 000 members could be accommodated in its office, and there will be a gym and restaurants in the building, as well as a Food Lovers Market. The building has direct access to the Gautrain station through “a landscaped pedestrianised thoroughfare” that runs underneath the offices.

WeWork has not yet confirmed local membership costs. In India membership for a “hot desk” (meaning you won’t have a dedicated place to sit) costs R1,100 a month, while a dedicated desk comes to R2,000 and a private office is close to R4,000. In the US, membership fees are much more expensive, with a hot desk starting at around R5,000 a month.

Africa is the only continent WeWork hasn’t yet entered, but Eugen Miropolski, managing director of WeWork International, tells Business Insider South Africa there is “huge potential for WeWork in Africa”.

“South Africa makes sense for us from a global expansion perspective: we’re entering a new continent in a country which has close ties to other major WeWork communities such as Europe where we have a strong community of over 60 000 members,” Miropolski says.

The Rosebank WeWork space will be specifically designed to reflect the Joburg culture, he added. A local team will be hired to “programme” the space. “They have to be connected to the culture.”

He hopes that the WeWork space in Johannesburg will bring together “a community of creators from diverse backgrounds including entrepreneurs, startups and large corporates” which will spark collaboration and help to grow the businesses.

Cities all around the world are becoming job creating entrepreneurial hubs in their own right thanks to a rise in digital connectedness and spaces for like minded people to work in stimulating environments.

Linda Trim, director at FutureSpace, says: “If cities want a chance at economic development they first need to focus on attracting and keeping good people. We need to figure out ways to make people happier, safer, healthier, more productive and able to function better as human beings. This is why cities need shared workspaces and coworking now more than ever.”

Shared workspaces are hubs of innovation
In a rapidly moving world, there is huge demand for innovation from disruptive ideas to build businesses, create jobs and attract talent. Innovation also tends to inspire further innovation as is evident in places like Silicon Valley.

“This virtuous cycle comes from the ability to look at a problem in a new way. And for this, nothing is better than the diversity of perspectives you get in a coworking space. Some of the most disruptive concepts and applications come from people outside the industry. For example Netflix, hosted a $1m Innovation Contest to improve their movie recommendation algorithm.

A team comprised of researchers from the United States, Austria, Canada, and Israel took home the $1 Million prize for their matching algorithm that improved recommendations by 10%.

“That’s why it’s so important to have spaces where people of different backgrounds can interact.”

But it’s not just entrepreneurs and small businesses who benefit. Large corporations are setting up satellite offices in coworking spaces too. They want to immerse their employees in a more progressive culture, where they can share ideas with people outside the company and industry. These new ideas may kick off a cycle of innovation within the corporation.

“Corporations also look to hire and develop new talent within shared workspaces. They might even seek to acquire an entire startup if it makes sense. By setting up in coworking spaces, corporations give themselves access to ideas and talent they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Shared Workspaces as an Economic Development Tool
Shared workspaces have a direct and indirect impact on the 3 key economic development stakeholders: entrepreneurs, corporations and the cities themselves.

“Entrepreneurs need a supportive ecosystem to thrive. An entrepreneur can often find these things in a coworking space and through the connections they make there. Shared workspaces therefore are an incubator for new businesses,” says Trim.

New businesses create jobs and are economic engines for cities. Corporations grow by acquiring those new businesses, or partnering up with them to create breakthrough innovations. This collaboration creates more density, vibrancy and resources that help the cities thrive.

Trim adds the trend for mobile working was also driving the demand for coworking places as fewer companies around the world want people to come in to an office each day.

“These rapid changes carry serious consequences for cities as well as workers. Namely, how do we help workers feel connected when they can work from anywhere in the world? Cities that want to compete for talent need more coworking space.”

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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