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Daycare centres a new must-have

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Firms wanting top talent could provide extra services for staff

As employees around the world look for a better work and life balance, and managers aim to attract quality talent, day-care centres are being established in a growing number of workplaces.

South Africa appears to be lagging behind the global trend, but there are indications that here too, day-care centres will be seen at more company offices in the near future.

A new Street Smart Insights report by Cape Town’s Baker Street Properties, says top companies throughout the US, Europe and the UK, are investing in day-care or child-care solutions for their employees.

And as South African employers are increasingly aligning themselves with international trends to support top female talent with peace of mind and stress-free child-care solutions, this should also be seen more here.

In addition to childcare or a crèche, the report notes the following popular amenities that employers in financial and professional services have incorporated into their commercial real estate strategies:

  • Laundry or dry-cleaning services.
  • Ride-sharing/after-hours car
  • On-site gym access and changerooms.
  • Convenient locations
  • Dedicated parking.
  • On-site barista, canteen, or subsidised meals.
  • Assistance with daily errands. 

In Singapore, the numbers of childcare centres in work places are fast going up. In 2015 there were a total of 390, including those in commercial or government buildings, or industrial estates. This was a rise of almost 50% from 2012.

Old Mutual’s Greens’cool Early Learning Centre was designed to streamline employees’ lives and enhance their working environment. Picture: NMC Construction

Crèches or day-care centres are also mushrooming in top office complexes in Mumbai’s business districts, says Abhishek Kiran Gupta, the founder at CRE Matrix, a commercial property data analytics firm.

Based on estimates from June to August last year – following the country’s Maternity Benefits Amendment Act which stated that every commercial office establishment with 50 or more employees must have a crèche or day-care centre within a prescribed distance – more than 7620m² of space was leased in office complexes for these centres.

“In the past three months, day-care centres have opened in prominent commercial buildings in key commercial office districts across Mumbai. We foresee greater demand for commercial spaces by crèches or day-care facilities in commercial hubs.”

Many landlords are also offering deals to tenants, by pitching presence of a crèche as a unique selling point of the building, Gupta said.

In South Africa, Brad Porter, founder of Flexible Workspace, a provider of serviced offices and virtual offices in Joburg and Durban, says a day-care facility for freelancers and remote workers is on the cards for the Johan Avenue business centre in Sandton.

This business hub aims to provide working moms with all the amenities they need to successfully run their businesses with the added benefit of full child-minding facilities.

“My wife is a successful businesswoman and my entire team comprises working women, many of whom are also moms, so I really understand the challenges facing work-from-home moms.

“We’ve tried to create a space that not only nurtures and supports their business ambitions, but also assists in providing a safe place for their children while they do that. It’s a purely needs-driven space that will allow working moms to perform both their roles without compromise.”

Ten years ago, Old Mutual heeded this call by opening a R25million state-of-the-art day-care centre for the benefit of the children of its Pinelands office staff members. The crèche, among other benefits and staff facilities, is aimed at enhancing the value proposition for staff members in order to attract top-notch employees.

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