'People come to escape the isolation of working on their own and to look for a space where they can be focused and productive.'
An increasing number of alternatives to a work-from-home environment is emerging on the Cape Town scene, for those who prefer a “coffice” to working in isolation.
While shared office spaces are nothing new, they have become edgier, offering more solutions to the working environment, including social interaction, remote PA services, great networking opportunities, flexi payment options and flexibility, says Lizelle van Rhyn, founder and owner of one of the first shared spaces in South Africa – Cape Town Office in the East City precinct.
“These spaces are ideal for the entrepreneur, freelancer, start-up and small business who simply can’t work from home,” says Van Rhyn whose spot was awarded one of the top 10 worldwide co-working spaces by Forbes magazine in 2016.
“The vast majority of people come here to escape the isolation of working on their own and to look for a space where they can be focused and productive for short (or long) bursts of time.”
Van Rhyn says they are also popular with households that have just had a new baby, and for those who can’t find sufficient motivation on their own.
Co-workers range in age from 19 to those in their late fifties. Glen Ainsworth and artist wife Fee, creators of Glee at Work, a new pay-as-you-go co-working space located in Green Point, say: “Those who work in small teams or on their own don’t always want to be in an office, even if that happens conveniently to be at home.
“For a change in scenery, coffee shops become temporary ‘coffices’, but their wi-fi isn’t always reliable and after the fourth flat white, waiters start giving heavy-handed hints that it’s time to order something more substantial or leave,” says Glen.
“We spend most of our time at work and technology allows us to work from anywhere. So why not do so from somewhere which you just love to be.”