The coworking revolution continues its path to transform office space as we know it.
Pioneered by start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, a growing number of companies – large and small – are exploring shared workspace. Now, big businesses have taken notice of the benefits of coworking and there is a growing trend of big corporations taking advantage of coworking spaces.
Marc Edwards, CEO of Tower Property Fund says the rise in popularity of shared workspaces was integral in their decision to repurpose a large section of commercial office space at Cape Town’s Cape Quarter mixed-use centre into a cutting-edge co-working space. “To meet consumer demand, we partnered with Neighbourgood, who are specialists in collaborative workspaces, to launch the new shared workspace at Cape Quarter, which offers both hot desking and private office solutions as well as boardroom and meeting room access” he says.
“Interesting to note has been the large number of enquiries and level of interest from bigger businesses who are keen on shared workspace. There are a variety of reasons why more businesses are keen to move over to co-working or shared workspaces.”
“Overall, we have seen a distinct shift in patterns away from long-term fixed-period rentals towards flexible workspaces. This has been hugely intensified by the arrival of Covid-19 and the uncertainty that some businesses have about the immediate future. Large consumers of space are looking to reduce their office space footprints, whilst gaining a greater amount of flexibility.”
“The shared workspace such as that offered at Cape Quarter allows businesses to grow and contract as and when they need, without having to factor in rental space and rental cost commitments associated with fixed long-term leases.”
“Added to this,” says Edwards, “Is that there are no additional costs for utilities, connectivity and cleaning – the price you pay is all-inclusive, which helps businesses and entrepreneurs to save money.”
“We also recognize that at the moment many companies don’t have the capital to commit to expensive fit-outs and office furniture purchases, so we have an option at Neighbourgood that offers fully furnished office spaces to those that are interested – with all furniture designed and manufactured locally.”
Coworking accommodates a decentralized workforce
“With the proliferation of freelancers and remote workers, there’s been a notable shift in the way we work. Increasingly, workers are seeking employers willing to provide innovative workplaces with flexible work hours, and companies are seeking opportunities to scale without growing their real estate requirements,” advises Edwards.
“Companies are realizing that they need to provide and utilize an innovative workplace in order to accommodate a diverse workforce with very different expectations of what work is, and where and when it should happen.”
Co-working provides access to a community of innovators
Edward goes on to say that whilst traditional leases can often isolate employees behind closed doors – denying a community experience –shared workplaces allow for collaboration, interaction, networking, and general connectivity essential to spotting trends and leveraging outside talent.
“Coworking can offer a competitive edge, allowing employees and businesses to tap into new products, ideas and skills that wouldn’t have been possible inside their own offices.” The benefits of shared workspaces are being recognised the world over and South Africa is following this trend vigorously. According to Edwards, industry reports predict that up to thirty percent of corporate real estate portfolios will be dedicated to coworking or flexible space solutions by 2030.
“This rise in demand for shared workspace is unsurprising given the overall benefits and we are pleased to have launched Neighbourgood Cape Quarter. The Cape Quarter is a highly popular mixed-use centre with commercial office space coupled with lifestyle, retail, and residential offerings. Demand for the space has been robust as businesses embrace the on-trend, convenient, stylish and affordable workspaces on offer” he concludes.