South Africa is on the cusp of a work space revolution. An ever increasing mobile workforce and with it, new demands for convenience, comfort and flexibility have changed the face of how and where people go about their workday. Work space is being inspired more and more by how people want to use it.
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, based on the views of almost 8 000 millennials across 30 countries, 67% feel that flexible working arrangements – of which the working environment plays a key role – have a positive impact on productivity. Workers perform better in agile spaces – but is this specific to cutting-edge start-ups who tend to resist most conventions?
Perhaps surprisingly, more and more corporates are also starting to share the need for work space that differs from the traditional corporate office. Whether it’s flexible space that caters to the corporate nomads within an organisation; satellite office space for businesses with HQs elsewhere; or professionals who are looking for more than a place to plug in their laptop and host a meeting – the need for work space has evolved and is also now a drawcard for attracting talent.
At the intersection between the accessibility and flexibility required by start-ups and the convenience required by corporates lies a growing trend for work space that breaks the pattern of driving into the building, going up to work and driving out at the end of the day.
Is Africa’s richest square mile for all business?
From a local business perspective, Sandton is the undisputed financial and business epicentre in SA and is home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), top investment banks, corporate head offices and one of the biggest shopping malls on the continent. Having earned the title of ‘Africa’s richest square mile’, it’s perhaps understandable why the entrepreneur and start-up community have until now viewed Sandton largely inaccessible.
Sandton is the preeminent place to do business however it comes with expensive, inflexible office rentals and long leases, which are real obstacles to the entrepreneurs and start-ups of today’s gig economy. But the launch of Sandton OPEN is changing that.
Corporates and start-ups
Centrally located on West Street, opposite Sandton Gautrain Station and Nelson Mandela Square, the newly launched Sandton OPEN provides a unique and multifaceted space to work, meet and network. The needs of Sandton businesses, corporate and professional nomads, start ups and experienced entrepreneurs alike are met through the public café, meeting rooms, event spaces, co-working spaces and dedicated desk spaces.
“Through OPEN Sandton we’ve created an entry point into the main business hub of Southern Africa for people from all backgrounds. We’re especially excited to be opening the door to such a wide spectrum of organisations who will all be a valuable part of a connected community,” says Paul Keursten, OPEN co-founder.
Entrepreneurs opening up
Edgar Semenya, founder and MD of Semrock, and a member of OPEN Sandton says, “I started my company on the kitchen counter and spent a lot of time alone. I knew that this was likely to remain the case since I intended on being lean in terms of staff overheads, but the sense of alienation was getting to me. Entrepreneurship is a lonely road as it is. I needed to be in a space where I could walk the journey with people on similar paths. And I found that at OPEN.”
Fellow co-working entrepreneur at OPEN Sandton, Lebo Molefe, founder of The Hook Up Dinner (THUD) is equally as upbeat about his work space.
“Co-working at OPEN Sandton is great for us as it will unlock a lot of potential for The Hook Up Dinner entrepreneurs to access OPEN workspaces. THUD builds entrepreneurial communities across Africa and the UK to connect, educate and inspire and then partners with Development Fund Initiatives to invest in them for growth through enterprise development.”
OPEN designs, builds and manages inspiring spaces to work, meet, learn, collaborate and hold events. The newest addition, OPEN Sandton joins two existing co-working spaces, OPEN Maboneng in Johannesburg and Workshop17 at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, which have redefined work spaces as flexible, multi-functional places for working, connecting, developing and creating.
OPEN’s vision is to create an inclusive platform for start-ups and established businesses to engage with each other, to thrive and to make a difference.
To achieve this, OPEN is creating a network of spaces located in prime locations as well as in upcoming areas and townships.
For more information log on: www.open.co.za