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On-trend concept likely to increase exponentially

Cape Town is seeing growing demand for shared and serviced office space as more people work remotely or run their own small-to-medium businesses.

Large corporates are also turning to co-working spaces for added flexibility and affordability.

Economic downturns have encouraged the rise of many smaller enterprises which are being run from coffee shops and homes, but they do, on occasion, need a more professional setting, says Leon Breytenbach, national manager of the Rawson Property Group’s commercial division.

This need for professionalism is one function of shared working spaces, while another is for larger companies to rent extra space on a short-term basis when requiring increased staff for limited periods.

“These co-working premises are modern, high-end facilities offering workspaces ranging from a single desk to an executive suite or conference venue. They offer top services such as reception, copiers, WiFi, phone lines, cleaning services, a kitchen, free coffee or tea, and even snacks. 

“Some offer a rest area or music room, but whatever their specific theme they are all conducive to a successful working environment. These spaces may be rented by the hour, the day, the week or several months as required, allowing companies to access space as and when they need it.” 

He says many companies are using shared work space in all the main business hubs, locally and worldwide, and it is likely that this trend will grow exponentially. One company seeing this growth in
Cape Town is The Bureaux which, having started in one location in 2012, now has four across the city – in Woodstock, Sea Point, The Water Club, and the CBD. 

Founder Greg Beadle says: “We have also seen like-minded businesses opening up across South Africa, offering the consumer more choice and flexibility to work from multiple locations. 

Some shared offices offer free tea and coffee. Picture: Supplied

“Consumers have the ability to test
drive various co-working spaces, due to the flexible rental offerings of these spaces, until they find the fit most perfect
for them.” 

Of its clients Beadle says 85% work online all the time, making the speed and consistency of its internet supply a key offering. A total of 65% of its clients are foreign-based companies coming to South Africa for the first time and choosing
Cape Town as their base in the country. Clients generally want to work closer to home and in The Bureaux’s Sea Point space most tenants walk to the offices. 

“Woodstock is very popular as it offers a central ‘meeting place’ for clients residing in the Northern and Southern Suburbs, avoiding the CBD traffic congestion.”

Looking ahead to the potential growth of this trend, Beadle says he believes there to be “dynamic movement” in the industry, and so service providers need to keep well ahead of the curve and be nimble in
their space planning and offerings. 

“Our clients are discerning, globally mobile and don’t have time to accept poor service or inconsistency in high speed internet supply.” 

So appealing is the co-working trend that OurSpace, the global co-working
community brand, has been made available to South African investors looking for limited partnership agreements in the development of such working spaces around the world. 

Destinations include Marbella, Miami and Dubai, and plans are afoot for a further 50 gateway cities world-wide in the next three to five years, servicing 50 000 members, Jason Paans, head of sales for Coastal Property Sales and Letting says. 

“This innovative new concept provides superb offshore property investment opportunities and offers much higher returns than what you can even expect in the Cape Town property market at just a fraction of the price…
The investment required starts at US$25 000 (approximately R333 000) with fixed annual returns from 10.25% to 13.25%, and a buy-back guarantee of 120% of the initial purchase after five years.

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